There will be a new planetarium for Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa after the amazing gift they recently received from retired English and Spanish professor Mary McChesney. Dr. McChesney, who is now 91 years of age, decided to make the donation in honor of her late partner Adelyn Bonin who had also taught German at the college. The donation provided funding for a new facility that will incorporate modern viewing technology while increasing the size of the viewing auditorium from the current 35-seat capacity to 129 seats. The previous planetarium that was constructed in the 1950s has already been removed, as the new planetarium structure began construction in 2016. Learn more:


The project had been planned in 2012, but fund procurement meant the facility would be built in stages. It is currently designed to make all of the necessary technological updates as originally wanted along with as much new seating as possible. Orange Coast College officials realized the planetarium was becoming outdated, even though it was still functional, and felt the time was right to at least begin the project. It is scheduled to be available for use at the beginning of the 2018 fall semester.


Orange Coast College is a small post-secondary school in Orange County, California, but still has an enrollment of over 24,000 undergraduate students. This makes them the third-largest college in the county, which is also home to the University of Southern California and UCLA. The smaller school offers a more relaxed student life in a different environment from the two larger county schools in a more rural location than Los Angeles. The quaint atmosphere coupled with proximity to Los Angeles makes the school very attractive to many area students, as does their academic reputation for excellence and growth orientation.


Orange Coast College officially opened in 1948 using buildings located on the deactivated Santa Ana Army Air Base following World War II. The public availability of the land made it possible to open the then junior-college for area residents. Today Orange Coast College is an ocean side four-year post-secondary education facility that is surely still building for the future.

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