Statement Before the

Statement Before the Glenn A. Walsh

Council of the City of Pittsburgh P.O. Box 1041

Regarding Proposed Alterations to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041

The Buhl Planetarium Telephone: 412-561-7876

2001 November 28 E-Mail: < >

Web Site: < >

Good morning. My name is Glenn A. Walsh; I reside at 633 Royce Avenue in Mount Lebanon.

For construction of the proposed Pittsburgh Children's Museum and Center, several alterations are planned for the Buhl Planetarium building.

First they plan conversion of the Theater of the Stars, home to the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, into another exhibit gallery. Such a conversion will preclude any future use of the oldest operable, major planetarium projector in the world! The Zeiss projector will be rendered totally useless.

Further, considering the costly infrastructure necessary for any auditorium, it makes no sense to eliminate the infrastructure of an existing auditorium--particularly one as specialized as the Theater of the Stars--and convert it into another exhibit gallery. From a long-term viewpoint, it would be much more cost-effective to simply build a new exhibit gallery, if an additional one were needed. It would cost a lot more to build another auditorium 30 to 50 years from now. And today, the Buhl Planetarium has five exhibit galleries which are quite usable, in addition to the Theater of the Stars.

The architectural drawings, displayed at Carnegie Museum in January, were quite vague regarding the future use of Buhl Planetarium's third floor, which houses the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope. Plans for this third floor space were not submitted to the Art Commission in July. Hence, I do not even know what is proposed for the third floor, as part of the proposed project.

The January architectural drawings seemed to show the elimination of a beautiful wood-paneled Library/Board Room on Buhl's second floor. The July drawings hint that the wood-paneled Library/Board Room may be kept. However, this is unclear as this room is now called a "Rehearsal Room."

Further, the July drawings seem to show that a small part of the eastern section of the second floor, which included offices and the men's rest room for the staff, will be eliminated, with nothing taking its place! Clarification of plans, for the Buhl Planetarium building's second and third floors, is needed.

Several walls of the Buhl Planetarium building are composed of beautiful Sienna Marble, imported from Florence, Italy. This includes the walls of the two public restrooms on the lower level and the two staff restrooms on the second floor. The proposed plans call for the elimination of these four restrooms and the construction of four new restrooms, on the same building floors! This makes no sense, particularly considering that the two public restrooms were made handicapped-accessible in 1982!

If these restrooms must be eliminated, the expensive Sienna Marble will be removed and sold. However, once again, this Sienna Marble is the property of the City of Pittsburgh. If this Sienna Marble must be removed and sold to complete this project, this should not occur without the approval of City Council. And, the proceeds of any such sale of this valuable Sienna Marble should go to the City of Pittsburgh, not to the construction contractor or the Children's Museum.

Thank you.


History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

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