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Plans to Build Major New Science Center in Downtown Allentown

October 25, 2019

The Da Vinci Science Center announced today that it will build a major new Science Center in the 800 block of Hamilton Street in downtown Allentown, Pa.

The new Science Center will feature a significantly expanded exhibit floor that will invite visitors of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy a fun-filled day of hands-on science learning through discovery, creating, making, and innovating. “The new Science Center will welcome all,” said Lin Erickson, Executive Director and CEO of the Da Vinci Science Center. “Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, his curiosity, and his desire to explore to the limits of his imagination, the new facility will foster active participation in STEAM learning – learning that combines the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics with the Arts.  We hope to inspire a new generation of Leonardo da Vinci’s that will ensure that our companies have the creative talent to fuel the Lehigh Valley’s continued growth.”

“The mission of the DaVinci Science Center is to bring science to life and lives to science,” said Vince Sorgi, Chairman of the Da Vinci Science Center Board of Trustees. “A newer, larger Science Center will give us an opportunity to bring science to life in a bigger, bolder way, and bring even more lives to science in the midst of our own renaissance here in downtown Allentown and in the Lehigh Valley. This new facility will provide the Lehigh Valley with a world-class Science Center.”

Local officials expressed support for the project. “I am thrilled that the Da Vinci Science Center has chosen the City of Allentown as the location for its new Science Center facility,” said Mayor Ray O’Connell.  “With the potential to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the downtown, we see this project as an excellent complement to the PPL Center Arena and we envision that it will greatly advance our efforts to transform downtown Allentown into a “day-out” and “night-out” destination for both residents of and visitors to the region. We also are enthusiastic about the potential that this project has to be a “hub” for STEAM education, especially for the residents of Allentown.  Having such a resource within walking distance of thousands of residences and nearly a dozen nearby schools will greatly enhance the quality of life for the immediate neighborhoods surrounding the downtown.”   

The Science Center has begun working with HGA, a national architecture firm based in Minneapolis, Minn., on a concept design that will take full advantage of the downtown Allentown site.  HGA’s experienced team will bring a unique understanding of Da Vinci’s mission and vision and its national context. Principal Roxanne Nelson planned and designed Da Vinci’s current facility on the Cedar Crest  College campus, and Design Principal Marc L’Italien is the creative force behind a number of major cultural projects including The Scientific Center of Kuwait, L’ Aquarium du Quebec, and Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, N.C. Together, the team will leverage its expertise in practice-based research to build insight into the people and passions that enliven the Lehigh Valley community, to create a truly impactful visitor experience. The concept plan for the new facility is scheduled to be completed in early 2020.

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