Seton Hill breaks ground on $11 million dance and visual arts center
With showers of bright-colored confetti and the presence of current and past Pennsylvania first ladies, Seton Hill University officials broke ground Monday on an $11 million dance and visual arts center in downtown Greensburg.
As first lady Susan Corbett and former first lady Michele Ridge watched, students from the university's dance academy performed, tossing blue, red, green confetti onto a large drawing of the new center.
About 150 people attended the groundbreaking at the site at the corner of West Otterman Street and College Avenue.
“It was awesome,” dancer Megan Frydrych, 9, of Greensburg said of how university officials symbolized their groundbreaking. “It's nice to have a new building.”
“It was really cool and a great opportunity to have,” said dancer Julianne Zerbini, 10, of Greensburg.
Before the young students performed, six students in the university's dance program gracefully maneuvered and sprayed an adhesive to the building rendering so the confetti would stick.
“I think it was an awesome opportunity,” said dancer Rachael Kopetsky of Unity, who will be a junior in the fall. “It was really great to be able to celebrate the groundbreaking like this.”
The 46,000-square-foot center will house art and dance studios, classrooms, design labs, the Harlan Art Gallery, offices and other features.
The building will allow students studying visual arts and dance to learn under one roof, university officials said.
“It's a really great thing because we're always fighting for space right now,” Kopetsky said. “I think it's going to open doors.”
University officials hope to complete construction by fall 2014.
Ridge, chairwoman of the board of trustees, noted the building is part of a $75 million university expansion and renewal plan. Seton Hill's arts center opened in 2009 about a block away.
The visual arts center, the Palace Theatre and the university arts center create an “art corridor,” Ridge said.
“There's a lot of great things happening in Greensburg, and I'm pleased to be part of it,” Corbett said.
She noted tourism is Pennsylvania's No. 2 source of income.
“Arts, we know, is a key part of tourism,” she said. “It certainly makes our cities vibrant and successful.”
“I love groundbreakings,” Westmoreland County Commissioner Chairman Charles “Chuck” Anderson said. “Groundbreakings mean we're moving forward.”
Greensburg Mayor Ron Silvis said the city's ties to Seton Hill's expansion began more than a decade ago.
“I think it is a tremendous asset to the city,” he added.
About 125 students are enrolled in visual arts and dance studies, said Mary Ann Gawelek, university provost and dean of the faculty. The new building should increase the number of students enrolled in the program to 200 within five to seven years, she added.
The arts were part of the university's curriculum at its founding, said Catherine Meinert, provincial supervisor of Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill.
“So we're continuing the legacy,” she said.
The center will be built using private donations, taxpayer money and a loan.
Last week, county officials approved a loan of as much as $7 million for the university, noting the loan will not cost county taxpayers a dime. The state has earmarked up to $6 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program money for the project.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hero Franklin Regional security guard out of work
- From heifers to science projects, Westmoreland Fair judges enjoy their task
- Man who fired shots in Monessen bar sentenced
- Quarantine on dogs relocated from Fayette shelter likely to be lifted soon
- Salem teen surprised with Westmoreland Fair Queen win
- Hours to be reduced at Ruffsdale post office
- Radiation measuring device triggered by load at Yukon facility
- Pickup changes to be in place at Greensburg Salem Middle School next week
- Man admits preying on Lower Burrell neighbor, taking more than $100K in money, goods
- 9 displaced by fire in Grapeville