Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado has been offering students excellent education in the arts and sciences for over 105 years. In 2015, the faculty of Fort Lewis College (FLC) decided to build a state-of-the-art Geosciences, Physics and Engineering Hall to ensure their science students would have access to the best academic facilities available. As the crowning touch to this new four-storey facility, FLC wanted a rooftop observatory that could open to the night sky any time of year, yet also close securely in cold or unfavourable weather. To make this concept a reality, the faculty turned to the experts at OpenAire.
To house FLC’s new observatory, the OpenAire team designed and built an attractive double slope enclosure measuring 15’ x 22’, with 5’ high sidewalls and two upper gable ends, which retracts seamlessly over a fixed steel structure to give the facility’s large telescopes a wide, unobstructed view of Durango’s high-altitude skies. The lightweight aluminum structure can close quickly and quietly to ensure the observatory’s astronomical, optical and other physics research tools stay protected in any weather. With its sturdy, corrosion-proof design, inviting modern aesthetics and precision-installed machinery, this new OpenAire solution mixes functionality and beautiful design perfectly, making an enormous contribution to what FLC has to offer. This winning solution will bring students and researchers new knowledge of the skies for years to come. OpenAire is very proud to play a part in making this knowledge possible for society.