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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre expansion underway, $10 million development

The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) is in the midst of a $10 million expansion to double the size of the school, and a recent land purchase at 2930 Liberty Avenue brings their total footprint to over 60,000 square feet.

Executive Director Harris Ferris says the goal is to build a campus environment in the Strip District.  The new parcel, which is adjacent to the theatre, now provides ample land to build an annex building and three new studios, as well as increase parking capacity on the south side of Liberty Avenue.

The current expansion is the third phase of the School Expansion Plan.  PBT’s Board of Trustees approved the $850,000 purchase price at its July 10 meeting.

In 2010, PBT opened Byham House, a student residence, in the rectory of the former St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Lawrenceville.  And last year, the school expanded its PBT Studios reception area.

With the newly acquired space, PBT’s fourth phase of development includes the construction of a new, 16,000-square-foot building.  Although still in its design phase, the structure will be an annex of the current building, located to the rear of the campus.

Parking will eventually be shifted to the 2930 Liberty Avenue lot, where Ferris says the space will either be surface or multi-level parking, depending on funding.  Either way, he says it will be beautifully landscaped.

“The idea is to create a visual and dynamic presence on Liberty Avenue,” Ferris says.   He also hopes a campus environment that spans both sides of the avenue can help to mitigate traffic.

PBT’s school serves over 800 students of diverse ages, in addition to housing a professional company of 27 dancers.  Ferris hopes the expansion will also help to serve the growing interest in community-based programs.

““That’s kind of an eclectic campus,” Ferris says.  “But it’s unified around our image and our aspirations for the art form.”

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Harris Ferris
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