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Seton Hill University aims to support visual, dance skills with planned center

| Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, 12:02 a.m.
An artistic rendering of Seton Hill University’s planned visual arts and dance center, to be located at the corner of West Otterman Street and College Avenue in downtown Greensburg, was done by designLAB architects (CQ) of Boston and BSHM Architects (CQ) of Youngstown, Ohio. submitted

Seton Hill University announced plans this week for a 46,000-square-foot Dance and Visual Arts Center at the corner of West Otterman Street and College Avenue in downtown Greensburg.

The facility will house gallery spaces, a small performance theater, art studios, classrooms and a gated, open-air “artyard,” said Bob Miklos, a principal with designLAB architects of Boston in a presentation this week to the city's Historic and Architectural Review Board.

The light-gray, metal-sided building will feature expansive windows to allow passers-by to see into the galleries and dance rehearsal studio, Miklos said.

Plans include replacing existing sidewalks with a stained concrete that will look like slate and will incorporate plantings and trees, he said.

Seton Hill plans to lease space at the center for a small cafe, he said.

The review board recommended the project unanimously, sending it to the city planning commission, which is expected to consider the proposal at its meeting on Monday, said Barb Ciampini, city planning director.

“It really is an exciting project,” Ciampini said.

The proposal is slated for consideration by Greensburg City Council at its Feb. 11 meeting, Ciampini said.

Seton Hill will receive up to $6 million in state funding for the project under the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, Ciampini said.

The university must put up an amount at least equal to the sum forwarded by the state, Greensburg officials said.

University spokeswoman Kary Coleman would not provide the total cost of the project, a timeline for construction or other details of the proposal.

Records show Seton Hill Properties Inc. purchased four parcels of land in June to accommodate the arts center: three from the Redevelopment Authority of Westmoreland County for $200,000 and one from Reed R. H. and Candy Daniella Nelson for $135,895.

An unnamed alley between two of the parcels will be closed, Ciampini said.

Some visual arts students have been using space on the first floor of the former Troutman Annex building on South Pennsylvania Avenue, downtown, for about four years.

The new facility will be separated from the university's 3-year-old, $21 million performing arts center by the iconic Church of the United Brethren.

The performing arts center houses performance stages, makeup and costume rooms, faculty offices and classrooms, as well as sound-proof practice rooms.

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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