PPL Corp. will be the title sponsor of the new Da Vinci Science Center building in downtown Allentown.
The science center, a science museum and nonprofit organization currently located off the campus of Cedar Crest College in Allentown, expects to move to the new expanded location in the spring of 2024.
Da Vinci CEO Lin Erickson announced April 14 during a virtual press conference that the new center, to be located near Hamilton Street and 8th Street, will be named Da Vinci Science Center at PPL pavilion. An official address has not yet been released.
“One of the benefits of locating the new science center in downtown Allentown is that it is within walking distance of thousands of students who live nearby,” Vincent Sorgi, president and CEO of PPL, the Allentown-based energy company, said at the event. “And PPL’s involvement demonstrates our strong commitment to supporting equitable, engaging, high-quality educational opportunities for all students and helping to prepare the next generation of STEM workers.”
Current plans call for groundbreaking on the new building in the spring of 2022.
“We are reimagining what a science center and STEM education will look like,” said Erickson, who revealed that the new 67,000-square-foot facility will feature 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, triple that of its current Cedar Crest facility.
Curiosity Hall, at the entryway to the new center, will include a 60-foot human representation that pays homage to Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man as its focal point.
A Lehigh River Watershed exhibit, developed in partnership with the Emmaus-based Wildlands Conservancy, will emphasize the importance of caring for the environment.
Local architects and engineers MKSD Architects, Barry Isett & Associates, HB Engineers and EMS Consulting are designing the new space, with Alvin H. Butz Inc. as the construction manager. Gross McGinley is the project’s law firm and PFM is the financial advisor.
“I’m pleased that the science center will be a key part of (Allentown’s) revitalization,” Allentown’s Mayor Ray O’Connell said at the event. He said he expects the Da Vinci Science Center’s new location to increase visitors to the city and foot traffic to its surrounding restaurants and businesses.