Chatham Celebrates Future ‘Dairy Barn Café’ at Richland Eden Hall Campus

Video shows the former dairy barn being moved to a new, more stable, location.

Forget champagne.

To christen the new home of the “Dairy Barn Café & Library” on Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus in Richland Township, school President Esther L. Barazzone, perhaps more appropriately, doused it with milk—and she didn’t even break its glass container. 

“I decided that it is not in the spirit of recycle and reuse for me to break this bottle,” she joked. “I should use it for flowers.”

Barazzone was at the 388-acre campus Wednesday to celebrate the three-day “moo-ving” process of the former farm’s dairy barn to a new location about seven feet away.

Bill Campbell, Chatham’s vice present of marketing and communications, said it was necessary to move the structure because of its unstable original foundation on a hill.

At its new—lower—location, the barn also will have a better view of natural amphitheater being constructed on the grounds.

With its emphasis on responsible environment practices, it was important for Chatham to preserve the barn, Campbell said. The Eden Hall campus is the future home of the university's new School of Sustainability and the Environment.

“Part of that effort is to really preserve and repurpose what is already there,” Campbell said.

The plan is to turn the former dairy barn into a library and café with outdoor seating. The Dairy Barn Café also will be open to the public.

“We think this little building is going to be the cornerstone of much of what happens on this campus,” Barazzone said.

The Eden Hall Foundation donated the farm to Chatham in 2008. Previously. the late Sebastian Mueller, a vice president at H.J. Heinz Co., owned and set up the farm as a retreat for the company's working women.

Last October, the school broke ground on the $40 million initial phase of the campus. Using the latest in environmentally responsible technology, design and innovation, Eden Hall is expected to be self-sustaining in every way, including by producing zero carbon emissions and more energy than it consumes.

“It is a wonderful future,” Barazzone said.

In addition to the preservation of the dairy barn, the current phase includes the construction of a field lab that will contain classroom and lab space, an aquaculture lab, a small seminar area, and an on-lot sanitary monitoring room that will be accessible to students and visitors.

Geothermal wells, constructed wetlands, mosaic gardens, the construction of a hoop house for raising plants year-round and an outdoor amphitheater with seating for 250 will also take place during this phase.

The initial stage of construction in phase one is scheduled for fall 2013. A dining commons and residence hall supporting 150 beds also are scheduled for completion in 2015.

Are you excited for the Dairy Barn Café? Tell us in the comment section below.

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