Due to the fact that the RHJ Planetarium has been neglected for about 10 years, so there is a lot of work that needs to be done to bring it back to life. This will be a long term project requiring the participation of dedicated individuals from volunteers in the community to contractors and district officials.

Our Restoration Plan Is Simple:

1. Determine Necessary Repairs to the Planetarium

Much of what we have found in terms of repair has come from another volunteer group that attempted to reopen the facility back in 2012. After visiting the facility in person in 2019, we were able to get a better idea of what would be needed to make the planetarium into a modern theater. We are still waiting on district approval to get an interior inspection which will allow us to determine whether or not lead paint or asbestos need to be cleaned out of the building.

2. Estimate Costs for Repairs

The volunteer group from 2012 provided us with tentative costs for repairs. Our current estimate for repair costs comes from a combination of this data, as well as data given to us by the district and from contractors who analyzed the building's exterior within this past year. We'll need to get exact estimates once we are allowed into the building, but you can see the rough estimates below.

3. Raise Capital

Currently we are collecting micro-donations through GoFundMe, but we are also pursuing larger grants and investments to fund high ticket expenses. Thus far, donations have allowed us to raise awareness through Facebook and Google Marketing, developing a website, networking events with potential sponsors, and learn from other planetariums around the country. We know that large goals can be accomplished by having a few people do a lot, however great things can also be accomplished by having a lot of people contribute a little. We are grateful for any and all financial support, large or small.

4. Find Contractors to Conduct Necessary Repairs

Since the building is still owned by Jefferson County, we will need to work in tandem with the district to make sure that repairs are all completed to state and district requirements and with approved contractors. While the district does have preferred vendors, many private companies have reached out to assist with restoration and even provide free labor. We greatly appreciate the enthusiasm that many people have shown to provide their services for the benefit of the Lakewood community. If you are interested in participating we'd love to hear from you, just reach out.

5. Reopen The Facility to the General Public

Our vision is to make the planetarium a hub for knowledge and community that is accessible to all people. With over a decade of planetarium experience on our committee, Lakewood has the opportunity to own one of the most pristine 360 degree theaters in North America. Using the facility, we will be able to host family friendly events such as birthday parties, star gazing, live concerts, and public talks given by experts. Our hope is that the Robert H. Johnson Platentarium is used by more than just professionals in the space field, but also local businesses, non-profits, and other community groups.

Estimated Cost:

Costs are estimated and approximate values, assuming maximum repairs are necessary. Values are based off of average costs in Colorado and are bound to change as we acquire more quotes from vendors. Currently, we only have one quote for estimated costs to replace the roof. However, we are in progress of scheduling additional inspections and audits.


 Necessary Repairs

  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Interior/exterior lighting
  • Painting
  • Plumbing
  • Roof
  • Boiler
  • Security system
  • Hot water
  • Outside enclosure replacement
  • Chemical storage


Planetarium Updates

  • Inspection
  • Master machine
  • Projection system
  • Machine software
  • LASER system
  • LASER shows


IT Updates

  • Server replacement
  • Cabling
  • Network redesign
  • Staff machines
  • Phone systems
  • Printer
  • Security system
  • Software
  • Computers
  • Website


Staff Costs

  • Salaries
  • Administrative costs
  • Advertising/marketing
  • Payroll costs
  • Taxes
  • Trainings
  • Supplies
  • Outreach
  • Fundraising materials


Utilities Costs

  • Phones
  • Power
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Trash
  • Sewer
  • Machine maintenance


Contingency Plan

  • Unexpected costs
  • Future inflation


Total Estimated Cost