Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Dome Theater

On June 22, 2009, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center announced the second phase of the Digital Dome project in “Creating Possibilities, Inspiring Tomorrow,” a $20 million capital campaign to advance the non-profit organization’s mission to inspire lifelong learning by furthering the public understanding and enjoyment of science and technology.

Heikoff Dome Theater

Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Dome Theater

The theater itself will be formally known as the “Eugen Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Dome Theater.” The Heikoff Dome Theater has been named in memory of the couple by Mrs. Heikoff’s brother and sister-in-law, Irwin and Joan Jacobs, and her children Laurie Heikoff, Lisa Heikoff, both of San Diego, and Erica Heikoff McKeown of Providence, RI.
After 36 years of engaging planetarium shows, more than 100 IMAX titles and nearly 400,000 miles of IMAX film, the Fleet Science Center’s Heikoff Dome Theater is being transformed into the most technologically-advanced facility of its kind. Phase 1, completed in December 2008, featured the installation of the world’s first “NanoSeam™” dome screen in an IMAX theater, which allows for sharper colors and brighter, higher-contrast images. A new, specially-designed
digital surround sound system, more comfortable seating, upgrades to the IMAX projection system and numerous other improvements rounded out the first phase of the project.
The renaming of the Dome Theater signals the launch of the second phase of the Digital Dome project, which includes the installation of a state-of-the-art, full-dome digital planetarium projection system that will complement the existing IMAX projector. This full-dome video projection technology will take the Fleet Science Center’s popular planetarium shows to a new level, featuring stunningly immersive visuals and incredibly realistic simulations of cosmic phenomena. The Fleet is currently reviewing projector systems and plans to complete the installation in 2010.
Major donors thus far to the Dome project include Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Weingart-Price Fund, Don and Maryann Lyle, Patricia Carter, Joseph Cohen and Martha Farish, The Hervey Family Fund, The Nierman Family Fund, Mrs. Audrey S. Geisel and the Dr. Seuss Fund, The Helen K. and James S. Copley Foundation, Margie Warner and John H. Warner Jr., Eric and Peggy Johnson, and Nancy Robertson and Mark Cookingham. The cost of renovations to the theater, upgraded seating, improvements to the IMAX projection system and the new digital surround sound system are estimated at approximately 4.5 million dollars.

The Fleet continues to raise funds for additional aspects of the capital campaign. Planned projects will place the Fleet Science Center at the forefront of digital scientific video creation, with a digital production studio that will develop educational content in collaboration with institutions in San Diego and around the world. Shows produced will use scientific data collected and interpreted from partner institutions to take the public on extraordinary immersive journeys—inside the Heikoff Dome Theater—into a human stem cell, an atomic nucleus or virtually any environment imaginable. Moreover, local scientists, students and artists will be invited to use the Fleet Science Center’s digital projection technology to present data and other visualizations on the giant tilted-dome screen.
Based on a strategic plan that was unanimously approved in November 2005 by the Fleet Science Center’s board of trustees—then led by Board President Dr. Martha Dennis and now led by Board President Dr. Chuck Wheatley—the campaign has already raised more than $14 million from approximately 50 donors. The campaign is chaired by Fleet trustee Lori Fleet-Martin, with the assistance of the Board’s Development Committee members Carol Chang, Patricia Carter, Joseph Cohen, JoEllen Parsons, Maurice Sabado, Margie Warner and Dr. James Whitesell.
Additional information regarding “Creating Possibilities, Inspiring Tomorrow,” will be announced as the campaign progresses.
Located at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park
Blvd, the Fleet is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the public understanding and
enjoyment of science and technology. For information regarding current admission prices,
please call (619) 238-1233 or visit our Web site at

IMAX® is a registered trademark of IMAX Corporation


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