News Release

SAC Invites Community to Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Tessmann Planetarium and the New Veterans Resource Center

​Grand Opening Exclusive on March 17

(Santa Ana, CA)—Santa Ana College (SAC) will be hosting a grand opening for the Tessmann Planetarium and the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. The grand opening will include a ribbon cutting ceremony, tours of the newly renovated planetarium and the new Veterans Resource Center, along with light refreshments.

“The Tessmann Planetarium has been serving the college, the community and local schoolchildren for almost 50 years,” said Santa Ana College President Erlinda J. Martinez, Ed.D. “Thanks to Measure E, we have been able to completely renovate the building and are happy to see the Veterans Resource Center in its new and improved home. As we celebrate the college’s centennial, it is thrilling to commemorate this renewed facility.”

Attendees will have an exclusive preview of the newly completed renovations and additions to the 4,860-square-foot M Building. Funded by Measure E, the planetarium has been undergoing renovations for the past 11 months at a cost of $4.9 million. Some of the renovation work includes replacement of the roof, structural and electrical upgrades, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) improvements, and exterior additions such as a covered walkway, gathering area and courtyard seating. The planetarium also has additional restrooms, new lobby spaces, reupholstered seating and newly configured and renovated offices.

First opening its doors in 1967, the Tessmann Planetarium was named in honor of Jennie Lasby Tessmann, a world-renowned astronomer and dedicated faculty member of SAC for almost 30 years. Currently serving an average of 17,000 schoolchildren a year, the Tessmann Planetarium specializes in presenting interactive shows to the public. Seeking to inspire audiences about astronomy and science, the planetarium encourages young students to attend college, join STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs and seek careers in science and engineering.

In addition to star shows offered to local schoolchildren, including What Color Is Your Planet?, Star of Bethlehem, and How Rare Is Earth?, in partnership with Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, Alabama), SAC will present shows by NASA Astronomer and Educator Patricia Sullivan. As the education and public outreach lead for the iSAT (iodine satellite) mission, Sullivan will present A Tour of Our Solar System highlighting NASA’s newest satellite (the iSAT) scheduled for launch in 2017. As part of the partnership, NASA will provide up-to-date educational resource materials in 2015 to SAC astronomy students and planetarium attendees.  NASA will also offer a number of evening forums in the planetarium providing updates on current NASA missions.

The Veterans Resource Center (VRC) has recently moved into the M Building, leaving its previous home in Russell Hall. Offering a range of services to student veterans including academic, mental health and service-connected disabilities counseling, the VRC has demonstrated itself as an essential campus resource. The VRC has partnered with many community organizations and agencies that support student veterans such as Strength in Support, the North Orange County Veterans Center and the Vocational Rehab and Employment Program, and receives corporate support from U.S. Bank and Bank of the West Commercial Banking. A total of 2,700 veterans are enrolled in online and traditional classes at Santa Ana College with approximately 800 taking classes at the Santa Ana campus. Of those, 650 utilized the services of the VRC and another 125 benefited from the Veterans Upward Bound program.

In 2002, voters approved Measure E, a $337 million general obligation bond to renovate existing campus buildings and construct new classrooms to alleviate overcrowding and outdated instructional facilities at Santa Ana College, Santiago Canyon College, the education centers and the district operations center of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.

For more information regarding the grand opening and the Tessmann Planetarium, visit the website at or call (714) 564-6356. For more information about the Veterans Resource Center, visit or call (714) 564-6288.

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which is turning 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit to learn more. For information about Santa Ana College’s Centennial, please visit 

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Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503