News for Immediate Release
July 31, 2014
Harrisburg – First Lady Susan Corbett today
announced the award of a $5 million Economic Growth Initiative grant to the Philadelphia
Museum of Art for the renovation and the enhancement of the facility’s main
building as part of the museum’s Master Plan, designed by architect Frank
Gehry. Joining the First Lady for the announcement were museum leaders
and regional elected officials.
“The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a
commonwealth jewel,” Mrs. Corbett said. “This funding will increase
accessibility to the museum's extraordinary exhibitions and programs while
adding to the economic vitality of the region.”
Renovations to public spaces will
address accessibility for patrons with special needs as well as improve
visitor’s museum experience. Built in 1928, the Philadelphia Museum of Art
stands as a city landmark. The Economic Growth Initiative grant will help
address essential building system repairs and upgrades, energy efficiency
improvements, fire and life safety system investments, and work required needed
to keep the historic structure in compliance with current safety codes.
All renovations and upgrades will bring the early 20th century
building into alignment with the needs of the nearly one million annual
visitors to the museum.
The renovations to the main building
are expected to take approximately 4 ½ years and is the first of several
phases. Called the “Core Project”, this phase is expected to cost $150 to
$160 million overall.
“What makes Pennsylvania such a
great place to work, live and visit is the importance we place on the arts and
their cultural contribution to our society,” Mrs. Corbett added. “Our
continued goal and mission must be to enlighten all who partake in the beauty
and wonder that these walls house.”
“The museum is extremely grateful to
the full legislative assembly and, in particular to Governor Corbett for the
strong support of this important project,” Constance H. Williams, Chair of the
Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, said. “We are especially
delighted that these much needed funds will support the upgrade of the building
infrastructure, which is vital to the museum’s continued success. An investment
in the museum is ultimately one in the local and regional economy and in
education, and thus a direct benefit to the communities we serve in
Philadelphia and the commonwealth.”
Long-term, museum enhancements and
improvements will also comprise the renovation of existing spaces that are
required to advance the creation of a new Education Center to better serve
schoolchildren and families, and gallery renovations for the expanded and
enhanced display of the Museum’s world-renowned collection. Unlike
infrastructure projects, these later phases are expected to be funded by the
private sector and donors.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has
successfully advanced a Facilities Master Plan over the last decade. Key
projects included the acquisition and restoration of The Ruth and Raymond G.
Perelman Building, the creation of the Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden and
a new parking facility, and the development of new off-site art storage
facility. The Museum has a successful track record of completing construction
projects on time and on, or under, budget. Last year saw the first expansion of
the Museum’s main building with the completion of a new Art Handling Facility,
which was created to address the art handling needs of today’s museums. The new
facility provides distinct bays for goods and materials, and, aligned with
standards established by international museum professionals, for the movement
of works of art.
In 2012, Governor Corbett reformed
the state’s method of funding Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program with a
significant redesign, making the process more transparent and objective.
Projects are now selected based upon their job-creation potential, their
economic impact, as well as their viability and construction readiness.
Prior to Governor Corbett taking
office, the state’s spending and borrowing for capital redevelopment assistance
had become unsustainable for the state and its taxpayers, growing from $400
million in 1986 to slightly more than $4 billion in 2010. Gov. Corbett
also said that the program had strayed considerably from its intended purpose
of encouraging and assisting job growth through regional economic development
Last round, the Corbett
administration announced 58 new Economic Growth Initiative grants, totaling
more than $133 million. The announced projects are expected to create more than
45,000 jobs in 24 counties across the state.
To ensure the commonwealth can
continue supporting Economic Growth Initiative grants, Governor Corbett
continued to urge the state legislature to enact meaningful pension reform and
address the current pension system’s $50 billion debt. Ballooning pension
costs, which consume approximately 60 cents of every new dollar of general fund
revenues, detract from the commonwealth’s ability to invest in economic
development and projects that spur job creation.
“Every dollar saved through pension
reform is an opportunity to support more Economic Initiative grants that build
a stronger Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Corbett. “Doing nothing to fix our pension
crisis fails our families throughout Westmoreland County and the state.”
For more information on the program,
visit the Budget Office online at www.budget.state.pa.usand select the Redevelopment
Assistance Capital Program link.
Media contact: Karen Gunnison,
Office of the First Lady 717-787-1965
Governor’s Office 717-783-1116
Editor’s note: For statutory and legislative
purposes, the Economic Grow Initiative program will continue to be known as the
Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.