The Da Vinci Science Center celebrated a major milestone with the groundbreaking of its new three-story, 67,000-square-foot facility in downtown Allentown last April, with an anticipated completion date in the spring of 2024.
While the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting typically get the most fanfare, we’d like to call attention to some of the work that happens between these major milestones.
Engineering work at the new site began in partnership with the project architect, MKSD architects, involving civil land development including design coordination and concept site plans, followed by land development and facilities planning, permitting, and construction coordination.
Additionally, structural engineering was tasked with a unique request to include a 50-foot-tall interior courtyard which would serve as a central focal point and home for larger-than-life exhibits.
Located at 8th & Hamilton Streets in downtown Allentown, the new science center will provide increased access for all with a special focus on downtown Allentown residents, at nearly triple the size of the existing space on Cedar Crest Boulevard.
The Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion will serve as an educational hub for hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) learning and career development.
The new facility will be within walking distance for the thousands of students who live nearby, providing valuable STEAM learning opportunities for downtown residents as well as out-of-area visitors and school field trips. The $65 million dollar project is made possible with support from various federal, state, and local programs in addition to private donations and sponsorships.
In addition to the STEAM Learning Center, featured exhibits will include Science in the Making, allowing curious minds to explore scientific principles and their application in the manufacturing process with a focus on Lehigh Valley companies; Lehigh River Watershed, which will surround visitors with the flora and fauna of the Lehigh Valley in partnership with Wildlands Conservancy; and the My Body exhibit, featuring interactive installations celebrating the human body exploring how it works, in partnership with Lehigh Valley Health Network.
At the core of the Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion is the grand courtyard spanning all three floors acting as the central hub of the building. The center will also allow space for temporary traveling exhibits.
Barry Isett & Associates Inc. is working alongside MKSD Architects; Alvin H. Butz, the construction manager; and other partners for various services on the project.
Isett’s engineering and consulting services include civil and structural engineering, environmental consulting, landscape architecture, and survey. As a multi-discipline firm with numerous in-house capabilities, Isett is able to provide single-source engineering and start-to-finish project involvement to streamline the completion of the project.
Chris Williams is civil operations manager for the Lehigh Valley office of Barry Isett & Associates.