Construction is officially underway on the transformative project to renovate an existing 40,000 square foot building in Utica’s Parkway District into the new home for the ICAN Family Resource Center and Utica Children’s Museum. Joined by business partners, local supporters, and community leaders, ICAN and Utica Children’s Museum celebrated this milestone with a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, October 26th.
With CSArch and Hands On! Studio as partners, the project began in 2019 to provide a dedicated space for children and families that would better serve the needs of the local community and surrounding regions. A hub for learning, socialization, familial support, and child wellness, the completed building will unite ICAN’s youth and family programs and the Utica Children’s Museum to become a first-of-its-kind and serve as a model for programs across the country.
“Today is a monumental day. While it’s an important day for all of us, it is a landmark day for families in Utica, Oneida County, and across the Mohawk Valley,” said Steven Bulger, Executive Director and CEO of ICAN. “This promises to be a destination that will add to the rich mix of offerings for families in the Parkway District, the City of Utica, and our region as a whole.”
Located on the first and third floors of the building, the Family Resource Center will house administrative departments and ICAN programs to provide families with traditional and non-traditional services that promote their health and well-being, including mental health services, parent skill training, home visiting, respite, and crisis care services.
The new 21st century Utica Children’s Museum will occupy the second floor of the existing building. A 4,000 square foot addition in the shape of a translucent drum will feature a new reception area, lobby, gift shop, two-story climbing structure, and open stairway that leads into the upper-level museum exhibits. The children’s museum will be a catalyst for post-pandemic healing, providing a space for socialization, play, and hands-on educational experiences aligned with school programs.
“Breaking ground on the new ICAN Family Resource Center and Utica Children’s Museum is the first step in bringing this one-of-a-kind project to life,” said Alexandra Garrity, Building Designer at CSArch. “I am excited to see the hard work by ICAN, the Utica Children’s Museum, and the design team become a reality and the positive impact it will have on the community.”
The completed project will be certified as a universally designed building by the University of Buffalo IDEA Center. In the end, the new Family Resource Center will bring children and families together, increase access to supportive services, promote social-emotional learning opportunities, and serve as a community anchor within the greater Utica area and entire Mohawk Valley region.