The Kopernik Observatory and Science Center in Vestal is ready to shine in the New Year.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Appearing on the weekly local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up, Kopernik Executive Director Andrew Deskur says the facility starts 2020 with final funding for the first phase of an innovative, educational playground development.

Just before Christmas, Broome County presented Kopernik with the funding needed to purchase the playground equipment for the new playground based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Deskur says the new development, turning a swampy portion of the Underwood Road property into a fun and educational experience is just one of the exciting things the center is looking forward to in the upcoming year.

photo provided by Kopernik Observatory

Several winter programs are planned in addition to the regular opportunities for viewing the skies, learning about the environment and the technology used in everyday life.

Deskur is especially excited about developments that put educational experiences like peering through a telescope within reach of everyone.  Kopernik recently added a fully accessible telescope that can be used even by someone seated in a wheelchair.

Information about programs at the Vestal facility can be found a

Southern Tier Close Up is heard Saturdays at 12:10 p.m. on News Radio 1290 WNBF.