Following years of planning, the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science will start construction in Downtown Miami's Museum Park. An official groundbreaking ceremony will be held February 24 at 10:30 a.m.
Overlooking Biscayne Bay, the museum marks the latest addition to Miami's rise as a cultural center in South Florida. The new science museum is scheduled to open to the public by early 2015. The current building serves 30,000 to 50,000 school children each year; that number is expected to double when it moves to this new location.
The 250,000-square-foot complex, designed by internationally recognized Grimshaw Architects, will be among the world's most innovative and sustainable science museums. The building is intended to act as a demonstration of sustainability principles, harnessing energy from water, sun, wind and even visitors to the museum. The property will be built on an outdoor landscape of terrestrial and aquatic spaces, featuring a 600,000-gallon aquarium, a full-dome 3-D planetarium, learning center, exhibit annex and cafes.
The museum has enjoyed a successful capital campaign that is still going strong as construction begins. In 2004, voters approved $165 million through the Miami-Dade County Building Better Communities Bond Program to support design and construction. In 2011, Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost committed $35 million and received naming rights. Just last month the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation committed a challenge grant of $10 million, driving the Museum to approximately $70 million of its $100 million private fundraising goal.
"Great cities are home to top tier museums. The new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science will elevate Miami into this rank while contributing to the city’s emergence as a major international destination for culture and innovation," said Trish and Dan Bell, co-chairs of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. "Our new building should serve as a delightful gathering place for residents and visitors, and we look forward to the Museum greatly enhancing the motivation for science and technology education in the community. It will also be an outstanding economic and architectural asset for the city."
Started with the debut of Art Basel in 2002, a cultural awakening has been sweeping Miami with a year-round commitment to arts and culture. Adjacent to the new science museum is Miami Art Museum's new $220 million Herzog & deMeuron-designed building currently under construction with a completion date of 2013, and the nearby Adrienne Arsht Center, which opened in 2006, is projecting record attendance with more than 500,000 patrons expected to attend 500 performances and events this year.
The groundbreaking ceremony at Museum Park will feature remarks by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, Superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools Alberto Carvahlo, as well as Dr. Phillip and Mrs. Patricia Frost, Mr. Dan and Mrs. Trish Bell, and Miami Science Museum President Gillian Thomas. The event will also mark the beginning of two new education programs designed to bring leading scientists into Miami public schools to teach children interactively about science and an internship program at the museum for high school students.