Westmoreland Museum of American Art's expansion to feature lush landscape
Westmoreland Museum of American Art officials didn't forget a new Greensburg resident's comments when considering the expansion of the city cultural attraction.
The man said, during a focus-group meeting months ago, that “by the time I was (at the museum), I realized I passed it already,'” recalled Judith O'Toole, museum chief executive officer and director.
Officials pledged to make the museum more visible from North Main Street and North Maple Avenue as they planned the expansion of the building to add 12,500 square feet of galleries, classrooms and studios.
“Pedestrians (and motorists) will be able to see the museum itself and see into the museum,” O'Toole said.
The heaped mound of earth on the downtown side of the building will be leveled, improving visibility, and be replaced by tiered gardens. Lush native plants and trees, along with a meadow, will be planted.
Workers will add three interconnected walkways and a new parking area.
“My hope is that people will be delighted by it and use it and see it as a new public green space,” O'Toole said. “We want it to be a place where people come ... during lunch hour, after the end of work.”
More than 75 trees will be planted, including maples, beeches, birches, flowering dogwood and Eastern redbud.
And 200 shrubs and 2,500 meadow plants, including native grasses and native perennials, will be added.
On the side of the museum facing Greensburg Salem Middle School, workers will plant trees in the “bosque” fashion, giving the area a “Parisian” feel, said Frederick Bonci, founding partner of LaQuatra Bonci of Pittsburgh, which designed the landscaping plans. The Spanish word “bosque” means “grove of trees.”
The plants outside the museum will be designed to eventually rely on water supplied by nature, Bonci said.
Workers started the building expansion about six weeks behind schedule, but O'Toole said she has been assured the museum will meet its May 2015 target date for opening.
The construction is part of a $38 million, five-year capital campaign, with $18 million for capital, $16 million for a new endowment and $4 million for operating costs.
Museum officials are using the Unity building that formerly housed Stickley Audi and Co. on Village Drive, off Route 30, as a temporary site for the museum, called Westmoreland @rt30.
O'Toole and Bonci said they hated to see the oak tree on the North Maple Avenue side of the museum be cut down earlier this month.
“I had quite a few calls on it,” O'Toole said. “What I said, ‘It bothered me as well, but that particular tree had to come down.'
“We took one tree down, but we're going to be planting dozens of them,” she added.
The tree was felled for practical purposes, Bonci added.
“We always hate to remove trees ... but it was the only place from which the museum could expand its existing services,” he said.
Workers spared a twin oak on the North Main Street side of the museum, Bonci said.
Some crabapple trees on the property will be removed, but he said they are deteriorating and need to go.
Most of the landscaping work will be done in the latter stages of construction and take about two months to complete, Bonci said.
“I'm hoping it's a landscape that provides value, is cherished and can be learned from,” Bonci said.
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.
- Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
- Ligonier planners recommend approval of restaurant proposal
- Hempfield votes to fill public works job with interim director Cisco
- Westmoreland County Prison visitation goes digital
- Veterans Court in session in Westmoreland for first time
- Brownsville pair allegedly embezzle from law firm
- New Year’s Eve sales set LCB record
- Latrobe police seek driver of red cargo van
- Delmont man blogs about industrial history of region, exploring long-cold coke ovens
- Westmoreland County adds 5 caseworker positions as child abuse cases increase
- Man’s body found in car in Forbes State Forest