Physical Plant

Section II: Facilities

A. Physical Plant – Helix House

1. Current

Under an agreement with the Bainbridge Island Parks and Recreation District, dated May 26, 1994, BPAA has exclusive control over the Helix House in Battle Point Park, with an easement to the use of the part where it is situated.

The site of the Helix House includes a concrete structure 26′ x 38′ x 26.5′ high. It has been cleaned up and many improvements have been accomplished. Architectural plans were prepared and a model was constructed with revision along the way. These plans have been followed to achieve a building that is usable, secure from vandalism, attractive in appearance, safe for those working on it and using it, and of interest to those driving by.

The association has constructed an entrance foyer, a meeting room equipped with planetarium dome and projector, a library/office, a storage room for club loaner telescopes, workroom, a roof-mounted dome to protect a 27.5″ equatorially mounted telescope, which is sitting atop a 28′ pier, stairs giving access to the roof with a stair access structure at the top. In addition, there is an exterior a canopy over the entrance doors, a garden forecourt with seats and a historical plaque concerning the use of the building during WWII, with the giant insulator that once supported the 800′ tower and the flash guard from the top of the tower. And for archaeoastronomy, there is an aperture high on the south wall to create a shaft of sunlight which displays an image of the sun on the north wall of the meeting room on the winter solstice.

The workroom is used for the construction of new telescopes, for the maintenance of the facility, and for loaner scopes. It houses a small milling machine, drill press and workbenches. The association has a Ritchey designed mirror grinding machine located in another location, which was used to grind the 27.5 telescope mirror in the dome.

The Library contains many books to loan out as well as old astronomy magazines; we also have the archives stored there. The offices are also located in the library.

The large meeting room is used for the beginner star party sessions; planetarium shows, lectures, and member meetings. The room is also wired to receive the pictures on a monitor from the camera mounted on the 27.5″ telescope.

Volunteer members and non-members with substantial contributions of materials and equipment being provided by suppliers and contractors have done almost all of the work on the project. A plaque recognizing these contributions is now displayed at the observatory.