Chatham breaks ground for Richland expansion
Chatham University ceremoniously broke ground on Thursday for its 388-acre Eden Hall campus in Richland.
Esther Barazzone, president of the Shadyside-based university, led a group of public officials and school trustees as they donned hard hats and simultaneously plunged shiny shovels into a line of dirt.
S. Murray Rust III, chairman of Chatham's board of trustees, said the rural second campus on Ridge Road is “an opportunity to reinvent ourselves.”
Chatham hopes to eventually construct more than 30 buildings on the former farm of the late Sebastian Mueller, a German immigrant and H.J. Heinz Co. executive who charitably made his estate a retreat for Pittsburgh's working women.
Four years ago, the Eden Hall Foundation donated the land for Chatham's new School of Sustainability and the Environment.
A $7.5 million gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation — announced in conjunction with the groundbreaking ceremony — is part of the $28.6 million raised to help establish the new school.
“We're all humbled and honored to help educate a new crop of innovators for many growing seasons to come,” said David Goldberg, president of Mithun, the architectural firm that designed the new Eden Hall campus buildings.
Also attending the groundbreaking were Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; state Sen. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler; Mary Ann Eisenreich, director of the governor's southwest Pennsylvania office; Richland Supervisor Herb Dankmyer; and trustee John Mazur of the Eden Hall Foundation.
The groundbreaking officially kicked off the Eden Hall campus's first phase of development and $40 million in building projects that are planned.
The first phase includes a field lab with classrooms, outdoor amphitheater, a mosaic-style garden and constructed wetlands containing cattails that will be part of an on-site wastewater treatment system.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.