Ever since the Gladstone building closed in 2001, Hazelwood residents have been waiting and hoping for someone to bring it back.
After years of the building sitting empty, Pittsburgh Public Schools put the Gladstone building up for sale in 2015. In response, Center of Life worked with The Hazelwood Initiative, the Make It Right Foundation, and Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment group to hold a series of community meetings to determine what Hazelwood residents wanted for the future of the building. When a clear plan emerged to turn the building into a community resource, Center of Life and The Hazelwood Initiative made a joint bid. Pittsburgh Public Schools sold the building to the coalition in 2016.
Since the sale, Center of Life has been working to translate the community’s vision into a reality. The organization hired WTW Architects to create a feasibility study, including a new design for the building and a business plan, which was revealed to the public during “The Future of Gladstone” meeting on December 5. At that meeting, the architectural renderings of the new design were finally revealed to the public.
The new design focuses primarily on providing space for the children and families of Hazelwood to learn and grow. As part of this focus, the plans include space for sports and recreation, dance rehearsal, music recording and practice, tutoring, performance, family strengthening, and a cafeteria. Outdoors, there are also plans for an amphitheater, plaza, and rooftop gathering space.
Other key features of the design are a focus on environmental sustainability and space that can be rented by outside organizations. Both of these features serve a dual purpose, making the project more financially viable while also bringing added value for Hazelwood families.
The focus on environmental sustainability will serve to educate the Pittsburgh community about environmentally friendly building practices while simultaneously lowering the cost of maintaining the building. High utility costs were one of the primary reasons Pittsburgh Public Schools was unable to maintain Gladstone, due to the lack of insulation and other features typical of turn-of-the-century architecture. Added insulation in the walls and windows as well as energy-generating technology like solar panels would put Gladstone on par with the most environmentally friendly buildings in the world while also keeping utility costs down.
Tenant space for businesses and organizations will bring in funding that will help make the project possible, while also bringing valuable resources to Hazelwood. Tenants are not yet finalized, but Center of Life’s hope is that they will provide needed services to the community.
While Center of Life has worked hard to plan the best design possible for the future of the Gladstone building, plans are not final and we welcome your feedback! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your thoughts on the design with us. You can expect more blog posts in the future with further details and answers to your questions.