The second phase involves creating a new wing spanning 90,000 square feet at the Strong. This will be the centrepiece of the new Neighborhood of Play expansion.
“After a construction delay and operational hurdles related to the pandemic, it’s especially gratifying to break ground on phase two of this project and look again to the future of the museum, our city, and our region,” said Steve Dubnik, president and CEO of the Strong.
“We would not be in this position today without the support of our federal, state, and local elected officials, and the support of our donors, members, and community.
“Now, through this project, we will extend the museum’s international reach, share our play-based mission more widely, and help rebuild Rochester’s tourism economy in the years to come.”
Neighborhood of Play expansion
The first phase of the project, a colourful parking garage, was completed in 2020. The second phase of the expansion is designed by CJS Architects and managed by LeChase Construction Services.
It includes the new wing, an outdoor play exhibit inspired by board games, a gateway building and an outdoor plaza with playful sculptures and elements.
The new wing will be home to two exhibits dedicated to video games and play across 24,000 square feet, called ESL Federal Credit Union Digital Worlds.
The Strong previously announced a $1.5m commitment from ESL Federal Credit Union for Digital Worlds. The credit union will retain the naming rights for 25 years.
Digital Worlds gaming exhibits
The project is supported by the $60 million Powered by Play fundraising campaign. The expansion is expected to be completed by summer 2023.
The Strong aims to welcome an additional 400,000 visitors by 2026, resulting in an annual economic impact of $130 million.
The Strong is the world’s only collections-based museum dedicated to the history and exploration of play. Its offerings include the National Toy Hall of Fame and the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Images: The Strong