Danville, VA - There are only a few of them in the world, and now there will be one in Danville. The Danville Science Center broke ground Wednesday on a digital dome, which is a theater that you can play video on all sides of you at once.
It costs nearly $3.5 million and it's funded by the Danville Science Center, Danville Regional Foundation, the City of Danville and an anonymous donor.
Leaders say the cost is worth it for all of the visitors who will learn from it.
"It's going to immerse you in the action. Usually you watch a flat screen and it's just in front of you. With this theater, it's all around you," said Jeff Liverman, executive director of Danville Science Center.
From the outside, it may look a little out of place. But the 44-foot in diameter white sphere will do more than catch a few stares. Inside, it will transform into a digital classroom for kids of all ages.
"The mission of the Science Center is to inspire learning," said Liverman.
The celebratory groundbreaking marks an addition to the Science Center and to the city.
"This is a great, great, great investment in our city, in our region. Another example that Danville is on the move," said Mayor Sherman Saunders.
The dome theater will contain 100 seats and a projector system that can show anything from astronomy to nature.
"Think of it as a way more to inspire children when they get back in the classroom. It gives that extra boost where kids are excited about learning," said Liverman.
"Once they get it done it will add a whole new dynamic," said Seth Robinson, a father.
For Robinson and his four home-schooled kids, the science center is a weekly routine. They look forward to adding even more adventure to their visits.
"It's a great opportunity for them to experience a lot of the videos that will be played there and just something fun to do as a family. So we are excited," said Robinson.
Right now the science center gets about 30,000 visitors a year but once the dome is completed, they expect attendance to go to 45,000. It should be finished within a year.