N.Y. Power Authority Undertaking $13 Million Redesign and Modernization of its Three Upstate Visitors Centers, Including Niagara Power Vista
New Exhibits and Programs Will Spotlight Advances in Energy Technologies
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is undertaking a more than $13 million modernization of its three hydroelectric project visitors centers in Western New York, Northern New York and the Northern Catskills, to upgrade the exhibits, displays and facilities. The comprehensive redesign and reconstruction will incorporate the latest hands-on interactive technologies and reflect the transformative changes occurring in New York State’s electric power industry under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo from the increased use of clean renewable power resources, smart grid technologies and energy efficiency.
The state-of-the-art upgrades, including large touch screens, multimedia and exhibit connectivity to the Internet, will be undertaken at the Niagara Power Vista Visitors Center, in Lewiston; the Frank S. McCullough Jr. Hawkins Point Visitors Center, in Massena; and the Blenheim-Gilboa (B-G) Visitors Center, in North Blenheim. Last year, the three facilities drew nearly 200,000 visitors, as key tourist attractions for those parts of the state. In addition to their exhibits and displays on energy and NYPA power programs and customers, the facilities are community centers for special events, such as wildlife festivals, antique car shows, and Fourth of July and Halloween celebrations, and for wide-ranging civic activities.
On Thursday, the NYPA Board of Trustees approved a multi-million dollar competitively bid contract award to Hadley Exhibits, Inc., a Buffalo firm, to develop content and detailed designs for the fabrication and installation of the new exhibits.
The award followed a previously approved contract authorization with another New York firm that conducted preliminary engineering work for the new exhibits and of other additions and modifications to the facilities that have a significant element of NYPA staff involvement.
“The planned upgrades of our Niagara Power Vista and two other upstate visitors centers are the latest examples of the importance that the Power Authority places on being an integral member of the communities where our hydroelectric plants are located,” said John R. Koelmel, NYPA chairman. “I am particularly pleased that a highly qualified Buffalo firm, Hadley Exhibits, has been chosen to oversee the improvements. The three visitors centers will benefit from the company’s demonstrated expertise.”
“The modernization and redesign of our visitors centers will further add to the value of these important community resources as must-see attractions for locals and tourists alike,” Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer, said. “The Power Authority takes great pride in the integral role that our visitors centers play in the communities and in their highlighting our sustainable hydroelectric plants and the new energy technologies that we deploy in our business and with our customers.”
In addition to the multiple dimensions of the new hands-on exhibits, the improvements will also include redesigned floor layouts to enhance accessibility, and modified signage, lighting and electrical infrastructure.
The upgrades at the Niagara Power Vista, which welcomed its seven millionth visitor in 2013 during its 50th anniversary year, will begin this summer, with the work to be completed by the spring of 2016. Among the infrastructure improvements will be the installation of an elevator, to go along with an existing escalator. The center’s seven-day-a-week operating hours are not expected to be affected by the exhibit upgrades, which will be largely conducted between the fall and spring months to avoid the summer tourism season. NYPA will coordinate the work with Hadley to mitigate any impact on visitors and will keep the public informed.
The upgrades at the St. Lawrence and B-G visitors centers will commence in the fall of 2015 and be completed in the spring of 2017. As with the Power Vista, the operating hours for those two visitors centers are not expected to be affected.
“I’m delighted that Hadley Exhibits, a Western New York firm, was chosen for the comprehensive renovation of one of Western New York’s key educational and tourist destinations—the Power Vista Visitors Center, in spotlighting the historic role of hydropower along the Niagara Frontier,” said Senator George Maziarz. “The improvement will also highlight other sustainable solutions that New York State is pioneering to enhance energy supply diversity and reliability and create jobs.”
“As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation, I am pleased to see these three hydroelectric visitor centers upgraded,” said Senator Mark J. Grisanti. “These plants represent some of the best and most important hydroelectric plants in the country. What they represent both in terms of environmental and power production importance is off the charts. These centers will help bring in people and show them the important role these facilities play.”
“I applaud NYPA’s efforts to enhance and upgrade the three hydroelectric project visitor’s centers in Western New York, Northern New York and the Northern Catskills,” said Senator John Ceretto, “Those who visit will now get a whole new understanding on how clean renewable energy plays an important role in New York State. Tourism is important to our economy. These improvements will provide quality family entertainment, which will go a long way in improving our appeal to tourists.”
Further information on NYPA’s admission-free visitor centers is available through the following website links:
■ The New York Power Authority has been designated as the lead entity via Executive Order 88 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to form a central management and implementation plan to carry out his Build Smart NY plan to reduce energy use by state facilities by 20 percent by 2020. ■ NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.■ NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities in various parts of New York State, participation in a unique public/private partnership to contract for power from a clean generating plant in Queens, and its operation of more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.■ For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Wordpress, and LinkedIn.