Saturday, November 6, 2010

Battista Likes the Window Seat

Once again, Joe Battista was on with Steve Penstone (43:50 in) during a first intermission of a Friday night game, this time, last night's 5-3 win against West Chester. I didn't think I was going to do another one of these posts, but since some new puzzle pieces came out of the interview, I went ahead with it. After some chatting about the game at hand, Battista got into the day's big news, the selection of a Pegula Center architect.
"Crawford and BCJ from - Crawford is from Kansas City, BCJ is from the Wilkes-Barre area - partnered, and they won the award for the architect's contract. They did the initial study, so they're obviously very familiar, not only with what it is we're trying to do here, but with the site - what needs to be done, what can and can't be done because of where the steam lines are, utility lines - you know, it's always a tricky thing because you look at the building that you know is going to be there for 75 years, and architecturally, you want to do something, but you've got a power line. So you spend a million dollars to relocate that power line. In the short run, you saw "well, we don't want to spend a million dollars to do that." But then when you step back and say "this building's going to be here for 75 years," maybe it's worth it.

"And, you know, that location is such a great place. And if we do the right things, and I'm no architect, but I've been in enough of these meetings to know, if we do it the right way, it's going to have some great views of Mount Nittany, great views of Beaver Stadium, on the back side, it's going to have great views across campus. It really is a unique place, and we're going to be able to build the building partially into a hillside, so it allows us to bring in fans at the concourse level and at the event level, which I think is pretty cool to be able to do that. So we're excited, it's been a tough thing, I can tell you we've read more about architects in the last two months than I've had to do since I was an engineering student in my dreams back as a freshman. But it's been fun, we're excited, they have a terrific team that they've put together, and when we got down to the three finalists, I think most of us would have been happy with any of the three. It was a very tough competition among them, and at the end of the day, we're going to end up with a state-of-the-art world-class facility."
So it sounds like we're going heavy on the windows on the side facing University Drive (which also faces Beaver Stadium and Mount Nittany). Man, I feel smart. We also got a little bit about the points of entry and the hillside construction. By the way, you know what set up that answer? Penstone stating that an architect was selected today. It wasn't even a question! Little-known fact: in journalism heaven, people only have to interview Joe Battista. Penstone next asked a when, what's next question, and Battista presented both an updated timeline, and an unusual challenge that will need to be addressed.
"They're going to have about a year, fast-track it nine months, to design - put everything on paper, well, on computer, it's all 3D modeling these days, which is really amazing stuff, but I think the decision that Penn State - we have to make is do we want to break ground before or after football season next fall? You know, you gain three months if you break ground in August, but now you're taking off line a lot of parking, you know, it's just - I don't know. One way or another, for two years, you're going to have construction going on outside the Bryce Jordan Center, so you've got to do it at some point. Maybe there's a way to get it so that we can do some things without disrupting the football parking and the traffic and that sort of stuff. [Penstone: Much like they've done with that ladies softball stadium.] Absolutely. The difference again is that, if you look at where we're building that, it's going to take off line the ADA parking, some of the bus parking. We'll come up with a solution, but once again, people have to be patient because there's a lot of moving parts to this. But it's all good, it's exciting, in a couple weeks we're going to pick the CM, you know, we want the CM and the architect to work together very closely right from the start, and again, hopefully we're designing a building that'll be great not just for the men's and women's hockey teams, but for the whole community."
I'll gladly park my car in Boalsburg for football games if it helps get this done quicker. Who's with me? Anyone?

No comments:

Post a Comment