The Carnegie Science Center unveiled its first look at its $33 million PPG Science Pavilion, featuring four floors that include STEM labs, an exhibit gallery and an event hall that will expand the museum by 48,000 square feet. The expansion opened on June 16.
“This is the result of, the culmination really, of nine years of planning to bring this to the citizens of Pittsburgh,” said Ann Metzger, co-director of the Carnegie Science Center, referring to the museum’s Vision 2020 strategic planning with co-director Ron Baillie.
The addition was made possible during a fundraising campaign starting in 2014, and boosted in part by PPG’s $7.5 million donation, the largest in the Carnegie Science Center’s 27-year history.
“Investments such as the PPG Science Pavilion will help communities like Pittsburgh and the entire region meet the need for demand in the STEM workforce by encouraging the next generation of innovators,” said Michael McGarry, Chairman and CEO of PPG (NYSE: PPG).
At the event, Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto offered their gratitude for the museum and the company’s investment to start children as young as three years old in learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Nine classrooms on the first floor of the pavilion, known as the FedEx STEM Learning Labs, will help them do just that, each with a capacity to hold at least 25 students for camps, classes and other programming, including one room for early learners and a wet lab to study subjects like biology and chemistry.
Continuing to the second and third floors, the Scaife Exhibit Gallery gives the museum the opportunity with 14,000 square feet to host traveling exhibits, like “The Art of the Brick” opening June 16, when the science pavilion will also open to the public.
The new space features Smithsonian standards for the exhibits, like humidification, temperature and light, plus a new freight elevator for easy access, where previously some traveling exhibits would be too large to fit in the science center’s gallery.
PointView Hall, on the third floor of the science pavilion, takes advantage of the Carnegie Science Center’s vistas of Pittsburgh from the North Shore and has capacity between 350 to 600 in different configurations to host STEM competitions, conferences and private events like weddings, with one already booked for New Year’s Eve 2022.
The building, first announced a year ago, is LEED Gold certified, the third-highest of four ratings by the U.S. Green Building Council for sustainable building practices that take into account energy use and other factors. A rain garden still under construction because of weather delays will collect all of the water from the roof and serve as a teaching tool.
The Carnegie Science Center reaches more than 700,000 people each year through exhibits, camps, classes and education programs. The museum, previously 187,000 square feet including the Highmark SportsWorks building, adds about 40 percent capacity with the new pavilion.