Months after the opening of their updated space exhibit, the Buffalo Museum of Science's reconstruction of the Kellogg Observatory atop the building progresses, with completion now anticipated in mid-spring.
Cranes could be seen outside the museum in early December, when steel beams were being raised to the rooftop. Those cranes have since left the grounds but work continue to rebuild the Kellogg Observatory. In addition to the new dome, which was installed last August, the observation facility will have, for its first time, full handicap access.
"We are so thrilled to be able to offer access for all of our guests to the observatory," said museum spokesperson Andrea Gallagher. "The part of the construction we're moving into is building wider staircases and elevator access to the observation area."
The final stage of the observatory reconstruction will be the return of a fully restored and updated telescope. The museum's vintage Lundin refractor was removed in December 2016 and taken to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania for work. The telescope is expected to be returned and put back in place some time mid-spring.
The large-scale reconstruction of the museum's astronomy and space exhibits this year also included the renovation of its popular indoor space. The updated exhibit, Our Place in Space, opened on August 21 to coincide with the partial solar eclipse that drew hundreds to the museum grounds.
Gallagher told WBFO museum officials are anticipating a more clear picture of the construction schedule shortly after the start of 2018.
"Weather is always a factor but we should have a better understanding of a concrete opening date towards the beginning of the year," she said. "Those major milestones like this observation area and the elevator and stairwell will dictate that date."
The Kellogg Observatory has been closed to the public since 1999.