Friday, May 12, 2006

Council asked to help save Trickett Hall

Council asked to help save Trickett Hall

By David Blymire, May 12, 2006

A Carlisle resident Thursday asked borough council to join the fight to save the 88-year-old home of Dickinson School of Law from the wrecking ball.

"We are dangerously close, as you are aware, of forever losing this venerable emblem of both Pennsylvania’s historic law school and the borough of Carlisle," said Judi Shunk of the Old Neighborhoods League.

Shunk compared Trickett Hall to the Old Courthouse, Dickinson College’s Old West, the churches in the Carlisle Square, the statue of Molly Pitcher and Carlisle Theatre.

She asked council to seek a dialogue with Penn State officials on the preservation, renovation and expansion of Trickett Hall rather than demolition.

Supporters applaud remarks

Shunk’s remarks drew loud applause from the crowd of supporters who turned out at borough hall to make an impression on borough officials.

Penn State officials propose to demolish Trickett Hall at South College and West South streets to make way for a possible three-story building constructed in a modern architectural style.

That design was chosen by a university committee from among four designs created by Polshek Partnership Architects of New York. The design won’t become official until the Penn State trustees approve.

"We appreciate your passion on this," Council President Donald Grell told the Trickett Hall supporters. "This is a very prominent building in our community."

Borough’s options limited

But Grell also said that the borough’s options are limited, adding: "Penn State is making a very substantial investment in our community."

Vice President Linda Cecconello suggested council send a letter to Penn State President Graham Spanier and law school Dean Philip McConnaughay asking them to meet with the concerned citizens and members of borough council.

Councilman Perry Heath said what Penn State is proposing is "like putting a square peg in a round hole. Trickett Hall needs to be saved... at least the facade if not the whole building."

Timothy Wachter, Dickinson School of Law’s student "ambassador" on borough council, said he initially supported Penn State’s proposal but later changed his mind.

"I could not imagine associating myself with the current version of the plan," Wachter said.

No one spoke in favor of Penn State’s plans at Thursday’s borough council meeting.

But a Dickinson School of Law administrator said earlier Thursday that preliminary plans are still evolving.

"We haven’t come up with a final plan for Carlisle," said Nancy Lamont, assistant dean for administration.

She said preliminary plans were posted on the wall at Trickett Hall to allow people to offer comments and that the architects are considering those comments as the design progresses.

"We’re continuing to move forward, meet with the architects and review and revise plans," she said.

Lamont said she couldn’t offer a specific timetable on when the law school will apply for approval of the plans.

Meanwhile, Shunk told council the committee to save Trickett Hall has collected more than 2,500 signatures on petitions, many of which were collected last weekend during First Friday and the Amani Festival last weekend in downtown Carlisle.

She added that brochures produced for the upcoming Old Neighborhoods League house tour will include a mention of Trickett Hall, encouraging people to go see the building.

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