In a few months, State College will get a chance to save the world.
IQ Escape is set to open a location at the under-construction Hamilton Square Shopping Center addition by December, co-founder Eric Lloyd said, making it the second site the escape room startup will have in Pennsylvania. One of its three games, called Contagion, tasks players with finding the cure for a deadly outbreak. They have an hour to solve the case.
“It’s an experience that most people have even entertained as a possibility,” Lloyd said. “There’s a reason that movies like ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ the ‘CSI’ TV series, ‘Mission Impossible’ — that type of experience is enjoyable. And what’s great about escape rooms is that there aren’t other opportunities that exist that allow you to play the role of a criminal or a super thief, and that’s kind of what we provide.”
Escape rooms, which require players to solve clues and perform missions together, are gaining popularity across the country. Lloyd, who is also a Penn State grad, said bringing one to State College was a logical choice.
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“State College is near-and-dear to my heart,” he said. “From 1920 until about 2014, the line of thinking was ‘alright well it’s dinner and a movie.’ We’re now providing an alternative to that, one that requires you to use your mind and engage with other individuals.”
The Pittsburgh company offers corporate and group packages. For individuals, the flat rate begins at $30 per person for an hour of play. Lloyd said there will be discounts for students, and the company plans on donating to THON and providing an annual $2,500 scholarship to students who submit a narrative for new games. When Lloyd and the team brainstorm new scenarios, they consider it “like writing a screenplay.”
“We start with a storyline,” he said. “It’s really a collaborative effort.”
The games are also for more than college students. At the Pittsburgh location, IQ Escape has hosted ages young and old.
“In the same day, we’ve done a birthday party for 12-year-olds and a retirement party for UPMC doctors,” he said. “I think that’s what unique about this.”
The company also plans on opening locations in Morgantown, W.V., and Washington, Pa. by 2017.
Child Welfare Resource Center to open; Salon Beautiful to move locations
The Hamilton Square Shopping Center addition, set to open by Nov. 1, will also welcome three other tenants.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center will open a training facility after construction is completed. Salon Beautiful will move from its 720 Pike St. location in Lemont, while the fourth spot will be taken by a financial group. A fifth space remains open.
Trombley Real Estate represents the 224 W. Hamilton Ave. property, which is owned by University Park Plaza Corp.
Frank Savino, an agent with Trombley Real Estate, said the groups are eyeing a cafe-style eatery to fill the remaining space.
Based in Mechanicsburg, The Child Welfare Resource Center has training locations across the state. Michael Byers, the center’s director, said the State College location will provide a number of services for the child welfare workforce, including ongoing education and certifications. The center will have two rooms that can be made into one for larger gatherings.
“Based on feedback from our stakeholders, who are primarily the county children and youth agencies, we’re looking for another location to put in that Centre County area,” he said. “And with all the resources available in State College it seemed like a natural fit.”
Salon Beautiful offers a gamut of beauty services, including haircuts, coloring, facials, pedicures, manicures and spa treatments.