AVON, CT (WFSB) - Students interested in science and technology headed back to class in Avon this week.
The Talcott Mountain Science Center and Academy in Avon held its first day of school on Tuesday.
Channel 3 was invited to take a look on Wednesday morning.
The school used to be a radar installation during the cold war, administrators said.
"During the cold war, we were worried about the Russians coming after Connecticut so they had a radar installation here that would track and find and hopefully deter the Russians from getting here," said John Pellino, associate director, Talcott Mountain Science Center and Academy.
The Russians never showed up.
"So in 1967, it was turned into a science center for students and teachers in the central Connecticut area," Pellino said.
The school boasts three observatories with professional-grade telescopes.
It's not just astronomy and meteorology that students study there.
They have recognized music, writing and biology programs.
"What better way to get that hands-on experience than to meet your neighbors?" said Dr. Brigette Zacharczenko as she held a rat snake.
Zacharczenko is a science teacher at the academy.
"Our science classes cover topics that other middles schools would never get a chance to do," she said. "We have a marine science course. We focus a lot on Long Island Sound and getting to know our local shoreline."
The week starts and ends at the sundial.
"From here in the mountain, where we're above a lot of the light pollution from the surrounding area, and it gives kids a great view of what the stars are doing," said John Pellino, associate director at TMSC.
Last year, students plotted Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting, projected in a dome at the school, and tested the artwork's accuracy.
"And set the night to the south of France in June of 1889 and pretty much everything in the painting was there in the night sky," Pellino said.
More information on the school can be found on its website here.