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‘Heritage Grant’ Aimed at Preserving Cal U Campus

May 1, 2008

For many at California University of Pennsylvania, it may seem like the changes of every semester include a new construction project on campus. Whether it’s been the demolition of Binns Hall, Longanecker or Duda Hall, the construction of Carter Hall, Booker Towers and the new Duda Hall, or the renovations of Steele Hall, Vulcan Hall and now Herron Hall, changes have become a part of life for many students, faculty and staff. Even though the campus landscape has drastically changed over the last 10 years, a new grant now backs a project in the works that will help preserve the university’s heritage in the years to come.

The $200,000 grant from the Los Angeles based J. Paul Getty Foundation was awarded to the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation last summer, which will be distributed to preservation projects on the campuses of Seton Hill, Washington & Jefferson and IUP, along with Cal U.

Project Manager and PHLF Landmarks Director of Real Estate and Special Development Projects, Eugene Matta, has been working on project plans for months, and is excited to see the work continue. With a team including an architect, a construction expert, an architectural historian and a landscape designer, Matta explains that the team’s plans are much more than just aesthetic recommendations. “Although their work is historic in nature, they also make recommendations for the future development and maintenance of the campus buildings and landscapes that are consistent with the original concepts but adapted to today’s reality.”

Matta adds that the team will also consider issues that are holding the global spotlight. “Relevant issues of today such as sustainability, health of our ecosystems and the environment in general affect us all, but mostly the young people preparing themselves for tomorrow’s challenges.”

Work on the project started last October, as team members focused on historical research for all four college campuses. The team has already completed some work on California University’s campus, and will continue their visits over the summer and into the fall semester.

As the ‘conservation team’ continues their work on plans to maintain local history on the ever-changing Cal U campus, Eugene Matta hopes that campus-community members will speak out on their opinions and ideas.

The ‘conservation team’ includes historic architect Ellis Schmidlapp, Construction and Rehabilitation expert Tom Keffer and Horticulturist and Landscape Designer Ron Block. If you have any questions, suggestions or would even like to lend some help while team is working on campus, you can contact Project Manager Eugene Matta at 412-471-5808, or email him at

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633