RESTON, Virginia - December 5, 2012
Bechtel National Planetarium Opens at Columbia Basin College
State-of-the-art Facility Exemplifies Bechtel’s Mission to Inspire Future Scientists
Bechtel announced today the opening of the Bechtel National Planetarium at Columbia Basin College (CBC) in Pasco, Washington. Equipped with the latest technology, the facility is designed to increase interest in math and science education through astronomy. The planetarium, funded in part by a $100,000 donation from Bechtel, illustrates the power of communities and businesses partnering to encourage the next generation of scientists.
“A planetarium truly sparks the imagination and inspires young people to see the opportunities of careers in science and engineering. My first visit to a planetarium as a kid opened my eyes to the wonders of the universe and the importance of education. This planetarium will do the same for future generations of scientists and engineers needed here in eastern Washington and beyond,” said Frank Russo, Bechtel’s project director at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) in Washington state. “We hope this project will be one that children, students, and the community will enjoy for years to come.”
Bechtel National, Inc. (BNI), part of the Bechtel group of companies, has partnered with CBC for nearly 20 years. Bechtel is currently building WTP, which will immobilize 56 million gallons of radioactive waste currently stored in underground tanks. The waste is a byproduct of plutonium production during World War II and the Cold War era and will be turned into glass using proven vitrification technology.
“On each of our projects around the world, we look for ways to get involved in the community to make a difference. Whether it’s to meet a local need or build the future pipeline of engineers, the people who work at Bechtel are passionate about giving back to the community. The planetarium does both, which makes it truly unique,” said Charlene Wheeless, Bechtel’s head of global corporate affairs.
A global leader in the engineering and construction industry, Bechtel is committed to helping develop the next generation of engineers. The company provides scholarships and financial contributions to organizations that foster science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning and supports employee volunteer initiatives related to STEM, engineering, and construction.