Richland Township Supervisors, in a 5-0 vote, gave final approval Wednesday evening to a land development plan by to transform its Eden Hall Campus into what’s been described by University President Dr. Esther L. Barazzone as “the first sustainable campus in the world.”
The Eden Hall campus will be the home of the university's new School of Sustainability and the Environment. The University has said it expects to start construction this summer and complete it by the fall 2013 semester.
The large iconic barn on the property will be transformed into an EcoCenter with an addition that parallels Ridge Road. The smaller dairy barn will be moved onto a more sturdy foundation and serve as a cafe with outdoor seating and library. An amphitheater will be tucked into a ravine near the barns. A greenhouse, field lab structure and "hoop house" will be located in the cluster of buildings toward the middle of the property. A tarp that can be removed during the planting season will cover the hoop house.
Ridge Road reconstruction, from Kim Lane to Glasgow Road, will take place in summer 2015. The road will be improved and widened to include a 6-foot-wide bicycle lane. Improvements will include drainage, storm sewers and curbs.
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.
Being environmentally conscious is a cornerstone to Chatham's plans, which honor the legacy of its 1929 alumna, environmentalist Rachel Carson.
Chatham's main campus is in Shadyside, and it has a seven-acre Eastside facility less than a mile away.