Historic Campus Heritage
PHLF has conducted architectural survey and feasibility studies to save and reuse buildings in historic colleges and Universities as in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Sutton Hall, or “Old Main”, and initiated plans to restore Point Park University’s Lawrence Hall with the college. For the latter, work included restoration of the Gothic fenestration, cleaning the limestone cladding on the first and second stories, and a realignment of the main entrance with the grand central staircase. Point Park University created new interior spaces including a university bookstore that enlivens the downtown street corner of the building.
From early 2005 through 2009, PHLF has received funding from The Getty Fund’s Campus Heritage Grants program for eight Western Pennsylvania colleges through which we review the history of campus planning; identify historic structures and landscapes; identify and highlight those that should be retained; develop restoration and stewardship plans as needed; work with central campus planning; and assist with the identification of public/private sources of funding for restoration and conservation.
From early 2005 through 2007, Allegheny College, Geneva College, Grove City College and Slippery Rock University collaborated with Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation in the development of Preservation Plans that are being used as road maps for the conservation of campus heritage, historic structures, and landscape.
In late 2007 through 2009, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation completed a second group of schools: Seton Hill University, Washington & Jefferson College, California State University of Pennsylvania, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
These Preservation Plans have become part of each school’s recorded history, suggesting how, from the mid-19th century to the mid- 20th century, architects and landscape designers envisioned the ideal physical environment to educate and to promote the enduring values that persist to this day.
The resulting Preservation Plans have been successfully used for campus planning, fund-raising, and for bringing awareness to the college community about the distinguished architectural and landscape features of these colleges and universities. Further, the communities where these educational institutions are located have also benefitted and several of them have initiated projects that include historic preservation components.
The Campus Heritage Grants Program has a strong collaborative character, and this is reflected in the process followed as well as in the end product. For instance, students from Seton Hill University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania wrote articles about the project, and the whole team was interviewed at the student-run radio station at Washington & Jefferson College. California University of Pennsylvania published an article on the project and PHLF’s President and the Project Manager were guests of California University of Pennsylvania’s President. Our field team worked side by side with faculty and staff members in all institutions.
Our efforts also had a positive influence in some of the communities where the colleges are located. Because of our work there PHLF and Seton Hill University have created a Westmoreland County Historic Preservation Fund. Each institution has pledged $51,000 a year for 3 years and the two are now soliciting additional funds.
In Washington PA, and next to W & J College, we engaged in a project to determine if a historic train station could be adapted to a farmers market. In Greensburg PA, Seton Hill University is building a performing arts center and a number of other projects.