ALLENTOWN, PA. April 22, 2022 — Pennsylvania Governor Wolf and Congresswoman Susan Wild joined a long list of elected officials and local community leaders at the Groundbreaking Celebration to mark the start of construction on the new Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion in downtown Allentown.
The event was held on the building site at 18 N. 8th St., Allentown at 11:00am with preprogram activities beginning at 10:30am. Festivities included a Construction/Safety Program for students presented by team members of Alvin H. Butz, construction manager for the project, and self-tours of the “main floor” site plan that was drawn onto the existing site and complemented by renderings of each exhibit space.
“The Da Vinci Science Center has long been an innovative hub where children of all ages could experience hands-on STEAM learning,” said Gov. Wolf. “This investment in the center’s expansion is an investment in a bright future for every child who walks through the door and the local economy alike.”
“We are honored that Governor Wolf, Congresswoman Wild, Senator Browne and other public officials and community leaders took part in this momentous event. This project would not have happened without public support,” said Lin Erickson, Executive Director and CEO of Da Vinci Science Center. “We also were thrilled to have performances by William Allen High School ROTC Color Guard & Chorale and Dieruff High School Drum Line as well as students from Central Elementary and Grace Montessori schools be part of the festivities.”
Suffice it to say, in true Leonardo form, the celebration will exemplify the concept of STEAM – the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.
Celizandra Marin, a freshman at William Allen High School who has been engaged with the project since taking part in a student focus group a few years ago, served as emcee for the official program, introducing all the speakers, including Governor Wolf.
When asked if she was nervous about introducing the governor and other dignitaries, her answer was a resounding, “No,” followed by “Well, maybe a little but I’m super excited to be part of such a special day.”
She added, “Today is Earth Day, and I think it is a perfect day to celebrate the building of a place where people can learn how they can take better care of our environment and its global impact.’
In addition to being a major attraction for the region, the new Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion will be a regional center of excellence for STEAM education, and a workforce development partner to area businesses.
Providing access to STEAM education resources for Celizandra and the 17,000 students in the Allentown School District as well as the 52,000 residents who live within one mile of the site is a priority for the new facility.
“We plan to develop a STEAM career ladder for youth in the immediate neighborhood and throughout the region, helping them to prepare for careers in high demand STEM fields,” explained aid Lin Erickson, Executive Director and CEO. “The Science Center will be a key contributor to the local and regional economy both directly and indirectly by helping to inspire and educate the next generation of engineers, scientists, innovators, and programmers.”
The Science Center has assembled a talented team to design the new downtown facility including MKSD Architects, Barry Isset & Associates, HB Engineers, EMS Consulting, Ideum and Roto Design Firm. Alvin H. Butz is the construction manager; Gross McGinley, the project attorneys; and PFM, financial advisors. The Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion is slated to open in spring of 2024.