A portion of the shuttered Crosby Elementary in northeast El Paso went up in flames Sunday (1/23) in a fire the El Paso Fire Department classified as a Condition 4 Fire, which is about as intense as a fire can get.

Crews arrived to find a classroom fully engulfed in flames but were able to knock down the fire and keep it from spreading much further and doing too much damage.

El Paso Fire Department
El Paso Fire Department
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El Paso Fire Department
El Paso Fire Department
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Although the school has been vacant since June of 2021 with students in the area now attending the newly built Archie Duran Elementary, the campus is the new home of EPISD’s Gene Roddenberry Planetarium.

So, what’s the status of the planetarium, and did the fire affect its day to day operation?

Gene Roddenberry Has a New Location

The 2016 EPISD Bond modernization plan resulted in the consolidation of Dowell, Schuster and Crosby schools to the new Coach Archie Duran Elementary this school year.

And thanks to funding made possible after the district partnered with the City of El Paso, a grant was acquired to cover the cost of relocating to and renovating a section of Crosby so it could accommodate the planetarium's 40-foot dome, and create a star gazing park and parking.

After being closed for more than a year due to both the pandemic and its relocation, the planetarium just started welcoming students into its new home last November, so news of the fire had many wondering about its status.

Gene Roddenberry Planetarium
Gene Roddenberry Planetarium
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Gene Roddenberry Planetarium
Gene Roddenberry Planetarium
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Safe and Sound

Good news lovers of all things outer space and elementary school field trips; because the Gene Roddenberry Planetarium is in a different building adjacent to the elementary school we're happy to report it's safe and sound.

The planetarium posted a photo of the fully intact building on its social media with the caption,

The recent fire at Crosby Elementary School did not in any way affect our planetarium. This photo was taken this evening.

Gene Roddenberry Planetarium
Gene Roddenberry Planetarium
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I checked with planetarium team and was told school field trips are still on. “In fact, we will restart our EPISD field trips Feb 1, and this week we host some students from Reyes Elem in Canutillo ISD.”

Public shows, however, are still a no-go and there’s no word on when those might re-start.

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