TAAA News Release April 29, 2009

For Immediate Release

TUCSON AMATEUR ASTRONOMY ASSOCIATION ADVANCES PROGRESS ON ASTRONOMY COMPLEX: Members engaged to direct strategic plans for Phase 2 Developments

TUCSON, AZ, APRIL 29, 2009: “TAAA will rally members to help shape plans for the development of the TAAA Astronomy Complex, which will be located near the Chiricahua Mountains in Cochise County,” advises Bill Lofquist, immediate Past President of the Tucson Amatuer Astronomy Club. TAAA’s Strategic Planning Group for the new complex has presented the application for our Phase 1 building permit, and will engage TAAA members to further define plans for Phase 2 developments. “The Astronomy Complex will offer a significant resource for TAAA members as it’s very own permanent dark observing facility,” Lofquist says.A presentation will be made at the May 1 General Meeting about both the status of the Phase 1 building permit and the need for us to move into Phase 2 planning.  TAAA will also announce details in regard to a significant contribution of four excellent telescopes made to the Astronomy Complex by Wally Rogers. Rogers donation includes a 14″ Celestron scope to be mounted on a heavy duty Astrophysics mount, a 11″, 9.5″ and 8″ SCT GPS scopes.  This contribution will greatly add to our education capability and viewing enjoyment, and the availability of these fine scopes, according to the thinking of the Strategic Planning Group, will influence some of the Phase 2 priorities.  Details of this contribution will be disclosed at the May General Meeting.

On Saturday, May 9 at the Steward Observatory in Room N305 we will have a seminar on Fund Raising.  The meeting will be at 9:00 AM.  We hope this important seminar will be attended by all members who are interested in our plans for generating funds for Phase 2 and beyond.  The emphasis will be on obtaining grants from a variety of funding sources.  A resource person who has been very effective in helping nonprofit organizations raise funds will be our presenter.

Then on Saturday, May 16 there will be a Special Meeting on the Astronomy Complex in Room N305 of the Steward Observatory Building.  At this special meeting we will discuss plans for the future development of the Astronomy Complex in more detail.  Members will have an opportunity to help shape the priorities and get an update on how the Phase 1 building will progress as it gets started.

We will need help from TAAA members to create working groups on observatory design, additional building plans, landscaping and further shaping the policies and procedures which will govern the use of the Complex.  We will also be exploring our relationship with Cochise College and assisting them in building their astronomy curriculum.

At long last we are beginning to see things really take shape for the dark site.  The many details of getting under way seem to have moved very slowly, but this was probably inevitable.  The decision to undertake this major effort was made at the June, 2007 Board meeting, so perhaps we have really made a lot of progress to have come to where we are now.  The Astronomy Complex is becoming a reality!


Information Contact:
Bill Lofquist
Phone: 520 297-6653
Email: past-president [at] tucsonastronomy.org