WASHINGTON, Pa. —The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum held a ceremonial “ribbon cutting” event, celebrating the completion of the new 21,000 square-foot Welcome & Education Center, on Thursday.
The Welcome & Education Center is a key part of the On Track for the Future Capital Campaign to expand the Museum’s East Campus to increase programs and events. “We are pleased to take this important step in a project that makes our Museum a major education and tourist destination in the region and thank the community for their wonderful support of this project,” said Scott Becker, Executive Director/CEO.
Completion of the Center is one of the final steps in the Museum’s efforts to develop the East Campus which also includes a 33,000-brick paved street, known as Volunteer Blvd, the beautifully restored Wexford Station, family play area and gazebo, and improved parking facilities.
Waller Corporation, a minority owned Washington, Pennsylvania based business, was the general contractor for the project; Desmone Architects provided architectural services, Gateway Engineers provided the site design and permitting, LLI Engineering provided construction management oversight for the project, and many volunteers also helped with the project.
The building will open to the public on Friday November 10. Fall hours are Friday-Sunday 10-4 through December 17.
The Center greatly improves the Museum’s visitor experience and capacity to serve more people and a broader, more diverse audience. It houses the visitors’ center, interactive exhibits, a classroom, event rooms, offices, and museum store.
The Center enables the museum to properly display and interpret exhibits that tell the history of the Trolley Era as well as STEAM-related exhibits to educate and engage visitors. These exhibits include dynamic interactive and historical exhibits designed and fabricated by the Carnegie Science Center in consultation with museum staff.
The Center provides a dedicated classroom that further enhances the museum’s educational programs and three event rooms that will be used for museum programs as well as rented for corporate and other private events. The event room space features a large 8-foot tall by 15-foot-wide video wall in a theater area that will be used for educational films as well as for event rentals.
Funding for this project has come from a variety of sources including major funding from the Allegheny Foundation, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, foundation grants, individual donations and in-kind donations of materials and services.
Significant volunteer hours have been spent in administration, design, and construction. A Steering Committee of business leaders guiding the campaign include Campaign Chair, Ray Betler, retired President & CEO, Wabtec Corporation; Laurie Andrews, Retired COO, Port Authority of Allegheny County; Leroy Ball, President & CEO, Koppers, Inc.; Al Biehler, former Secretary, PA Secretary of Transportation; Mike Fetsko, Group President, Freight, Wabtec Corporation; Jim Herrington, Private Equity Investment Officer, West Virginia Investment Management Board; Bob Jordan, Life Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer; Jim McQuade, President & CEO, Dollar Bank; Ed Morascyzk, Esq., Senior Partner, Morascyzk, Yarosz, and Morascyzk; Jim Roddey, former Allegheny County Executive; Tom Rooney, Rooney Sports & Entertainment; Bill Stout, retired President, Atlas Railroad Construction Company; Executive Director/CEO Scott Becker; Jeanine DeBor, Director of Annual Giving and Marketing; and Campaign Consultants, Teeter Associates.
Visitors to the museum come from the tri-state region as well as from all over the country and other parts of the world, attracting casual visitors planning a fun day with their family or attending a special event as well as history, railroad, and trolley enthusiasts. Family-friendly events such as Bunny Trolley and Santa Trolley frequently sell out.
Other services include group tours, birthday parties, facility rentals, and photo shoot rentals. The museum works with schools, preschools, learning centers, special needs groups, Boy & Girl Scout troops, and others to provide field trips, classroom visits, and scouting merit badge workshops.
The Trolleyology online video series features past and upcoming talks about trolleys and their history, as well as activities and resource guides for teachers.
By further increasing the visitor experience and capacity, the museum will expand its tourism impact on the local economy. A study done by global consulting firm AECOM estimated the increase in attendance, and by extension tourism, to a total of 53,000 patrons annually. According to the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh, the new Center will add $10 million to the region’s economy and create 116 full and part-time jobs.
Established in 1954, the Museum now has a collection of 52 trolley cars from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, along with New Orleans’ famous streetcar named Desire, six railway structures, and countless images and artifacts. It provides guided tours and four-mile round trip scenic trolley rides on vintage trolley cars. Volunteers play a key role in providing the visitor experience.
The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum is located a few miles from I-79 exit 41 Racetrack Road. For more information call the Museum at 724-228-9256 or go to its website at www.patrolley.org
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