AMBLER – The Ambler Campus is looking a bit different these days. The Einstein and Van Gogh buildings and the original campus greenhouse have been demolished.
“They were removed out of consideration for the safety and security of the students, faculty and staff,” said acting dean James W. Hilty. “I am grateful that the work could be done without any disruption to normal campus activities.”
The Einstein and Van Gogh buildings were being used as temporary modules to allow for additional classroom space and were no longer needed when the Ambler Learning Center opened in fall 2006, Hilty said. The modules were used to hold a variety of classes.
Jenny Rose Carey, the landscape arboretum director, said the buildings were a danger and had outlived their useful lives.
The greenhouse was a danger because of damage to the glass panes and wood, caused by “a June hailstorm with at least golf ball size hail that broke many of the panes of glass,” Carey said.
The greenhouse had originally been built around 1914, with the help of women attending the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women, the forerunner of Temple Ambler. In 2001, the campus built a new greenhouse near Cottage Hall to replace the need for the historic greenhouse.
A part of the original greenhouse still stands, the Head House, which was built after the original greenhouse. No formal plans have been made for the Head House yet, but ”plans are underway to repair and renovate the potting shed and to convert it into a welcome center for visitors and prospective students,” Hilty said.
Carey said that the Head House could possibly be transformed into a “mini museum for a historical display.”
As for the Einstein and Van Gogh buildings, plans are being drawn up to determine what to do with the open space left by the demolition of the structures. Carey said the demolition has made room to enlarge the Class of 1990 courtyard.
When plans are finalized, work on the sites should start at the beginning of summer, said Saul Katzman, the director of finance and operations.
Caitlin Burns can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.