Port Macquarie Observatory Association has released plans and images of its planned new visionary building.
The plans and accompanying report have been submitted to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and are now awaiting assessment and approval.
Association president Robert Brangwin says the plans and drawings are the culmination of about 15 years' work.
"We have spent that time developing, understanding and refining the suggestions of our members after numerous workshops and consultations," he said.
"The building will replace the existing observatory which was built by Rotarians in 1962.
"It has been in continuous operation since and has provided valuable astro/science educational services.
"However, the current building and dome are badly deteriorated and are no longer fit for purpose.
"The new observatory will enable the association to continue to provide valuable astro/science education programs but in an exciting, new purpose-built facility."
Mr Brangwin said the new complex will become an astronomy/science hub and have presentations and static and tactile displays to suit all ages.
The aim is to create a space education centre, involving the STEM areas of learning.
It is important for the observatory to improve the night sky viewing experience of its visitors, he said.
The community building is in an easily accessible place for all the community and tourists to enjoy.Robert Brangwin
"The community building is in an easily accessible place for all the community and tourists to enjoy."
The planned $3.5m to $4m project will be constructed in stages. The new dome would likely be constructed first.
The old building would be demolished to make way for the new structure.
Planning coordinator Chris Ireland said during the design phase, the committee has been cognisant of how rebuilding on the current site in Rotary Park might affect the local residents.
"We have endeavoured to minimise the impacts the project might have on its environment and surrounds," he said.
"The project managers, King and Campbell, have spent a great deal of time and thought in developing a design that is modern and iconic and in keeping with its prime location within Port Macquarie."
King and Campbell's David Tooby said the new building should present well visually.
"It was important from the outset of the design process to recognise the importance of Rotary Park and the community that it serves," he said.
"The new building must continue to be subservient to the park whilst being an important part of it.
"It must also present well visually from all vantage points and be clearly identifiable as an observatory and science hub."
The new building will also provide public toilet facilities to users of Rotary Park.
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