In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Rotary International during the 2004-2005 club year, the Wadesboro Rotary Club chose as its community-based centennial project, the development of a planetarium and science center to serve Anson County and other counties in the region. Over the years, the planetarium has evolved into an exceptional science learning center. The center includes a Starlab projector that is used to project different educational programs related to astronomy and other educational areas, state of the art sound system and ongoing display provided by organizations such as NASA and children’s museums. Over 5000 students have attended the Rotary Planetarium and Science Center. Students, ranging from preschool classes to 8th grade, tour the facility and participate in hands on labs pertaining to their grade level standard course of study. In addition to Anson County, students from six other counties in North Carolina have also visited the Planetarium and Science Center. The Center also offers week long summer camps for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students, as well as community shows throughout the year.
The Planetarium is truly a collaborative project. The following improvements have been made over the last several years and funded by multiple partners including:
- New roof/central heating and air conditioning
- New windows and doors paid through lottery money
- New animal habitats, aquariums and tables funded by Anson County Schools
25 new elementary microscopes added along with a supply of science materials funded by Anson County Schools
- Additional seating space in the animal room from covering the last bid of the old kitchen (safety issue) constructed by ACS maintenance
- Addition of 3 sets of shelves built by maintenance for storing science materials in the storage room
- Hot water heater furnished by Wadesboro Rotary Club
- Smart Board furnished by Wadesboro Rotary Club
- Rotary District Simplified Grants have funded the anatomy center with many illustrations and hands-on models for students
- A 50 x 55 foot environmental area with gravel and 8 picnic tables to accommodate large numbers of students was built and funded by the Wadesboro Rotary Club Educational Foundation and a Rotary District Simplified Grant; Fire pits were purchased and area landscaped in by Rotary members; area also landscaped for drainage purposed at no additional charge to the district by Lynn Thomas Grading.
- Approximately $10,000 worth of science equipment has been added to the planetarium science supplies to enable hands on science activities.
- A new Starlab Digital Planetarium System was added in the dome in 2014. Donations were provided by Duke Energy, Wadesboro Rotary Club Members, Little Foundation, Yost Foundation, Smith Trust and many members of the community.