Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University STEM Education Center and Planetarium

  • Location:

    Prescott, Arizona

  • Client:

    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

  • Construction Value:


  • Delivery Method:

    Design Bid Build

  • Year Completed:


  • Specialties:

    Higher Education, Laboratories

Features & Highlights

  • 52,570-square-foot facility with classrooms and laboratories
  • Domed auditorium/planetarium with seating for 116 people
  • Engaging, explorational atmosphere for students, faculty and general public
Project Overview

Sundt built a new, cutting-edge facility at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to support the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program. Frequently referred to as the “Harvard of the Sky,” Embry Riddle is the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, with 125 locations worldwide. The project consisted of a 52,570-square-foot facility that houses classrooms, laboratories and a domed auditorium/planetarium.

One of the more challenging aspects of this project was placing the 127,000-pound dome atop the auditorium. Just putting the crane in place to make the lift was a significant accomplishment. The team built a road through the site for the crane, inches away from existing buildings and had to cover existing utilities to avoid damaging them under the massive weight of the machinery. In the end, it took three hours to lift the dome, set it up and weld it into place, under the watchful eyes of Embry-Riddle officials and students.

The Jim and Linda Lee Planetarium is the only Arizona planetarium north of Phoenix, and is capable of seating 116 students and visitors, showing them the cosmos in 360-degree, 4k resolution. Open to the public, the facility is equipped with multi-media learning software that can take viewers from the inner complexities of the human body to the farthest reaches of the known universe.

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“What sets Sundt apart from their competition is their care and focus on the customer. We have other larger, national contractors that have done work for us. They don’t seem to place as much importance on the client’s needs.”

Chris Hardesty, Director, University Planning & Construction Management