N.Y. Power Authority Undertaking $13 Million Redesign and Modernization of its Three Upstate Visitors Centers, Including St. Lawrence Hawkins Point Facility
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 Northern New York, Western 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 Frank S. McCullough Jr. Hawkins Point Visitors Center, in Massena; the Niagara Power Vista Visitors Center, in Lewiston; and the Blenheim-Gilboa 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 (May 22), 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 Power Authority’s three visitors center facilities are learning centers about energy, including hydroelectric power development and use in the North Country,” said Judge Eugene L. Nicandri, a NYPA trustee and Massena resident. “The multi-million dollar upgrades that we’re planning for the visitors centers will provide exciting new opportunities to engage the public on the latest energy technologies, while furthering the importance of these community centers.”
“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 construction at the Frank S. McCullough Jr. Hawkins Point Visitors Center, which features an outstanding view of the St. Lawrence-FDR hydroelectric plant from across the South Channel of the St. Lawrence River, will begin in the fall of 2016 with the work to be completed by the spring of 2017.
The Hawkins Point 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.
STATEMENTS BY OTHERS
“The Hawkins Point Visitors Center not only gives people an inside look at energy production through numerous exhibits', it’s also a community hub, hosting events that bring North Country people together and inviting tourists to learn more about our region,” said Senator Patty Ritchie.
"The St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project plays an integral role in providing energy to New York State. The Hawkins Point Visitors Center is a great place for children and families to learn about energy production in a relaxed and fun environment”, said Senator Joseph A. Griffo.
"I appreciate the New York Power Authority investing in these tourist attractions and look forward to seeing all the new exhibits, displays and facilities our center will soon offer."
"The Frank S. McCullough Jr. Hawkins Point Visitor Center is an important asset for the North Country,” said Assemblywoman Addie Russell. “This new investment will ensure that visitors have state–of–the–art exhibits and cutting–edge content. It will keep the center fresh, peaking the interest of and inspiring our youth, as well as stimulating repeat visits. The center is a fantastic blend of educational experience and tourist attraction, creating an economic engine vital to the Massena community. This is an insightful and inspirational project that will energize the region."
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.