Thursday, January 9, 2003

Some Good News

Progress seen on Taft renovations


Wearing hard hats and work shoes, we treaded through a muddy construction site Tuesday to see a partnership of history - past, present and future - being formed at the Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St.

Museum staff members Tamera Muente, public relations; Mark Rohling, chief preparator; Mark Allen, collection technician; Destiny Martin, membership coordinator and Lynne Staat, volunteer coordinator, marveled at the intricate infrastructure of the 20,000-square-foot, $19 million expansion of this National Historic Landmark.

Led by Greg Rohr, project engineer for Turner Construction, we saw the basic design phase of a mechanical system of air conditioning, heating and ventilation units, metal studs, ceiling joists, polystyrene insulation, and a fire-suppression system.

The museum closed Nov. 5, 2001 for the expansion project. Construction started last March. A 70-car parking garage was completed in October and work started on replacing a copper roof the same month.

Structural steel for the expansion wing was completed on Nov. 12.

The original house was built in 1820, known then as the Baum-Longworth-Taft House.

Later, David Sinton, father of museum co-founder, Anna Sinton Taft, purchased the house.

The home and 690 pieces of art were bequeathed to the people of Cincinnati in 1927. The Taft Museum of Art opened in 1932.

The museum is scheduled to reopen this summer. New facilities will include the Fifth Third Special Exhibition Gallery, Charles H. Dater Education Room, Dr. Stanley and Mickey Kaplan Lobby, a cafÈ, an expanded museum shop, Luther Hall , a Museum of Art garden and the Corbett Educator Resource Center.

"This is probably the last major renovation this building we will see in our lifetime," said Mr. Rohr. "Doing it right becomes more important than getting it done on time. We don't want people to look at it and say, `My God, look what they did to the Taft Museum.' We want them to say: "Ah, look what they did to the Taft Museum.' This is an important piece of history in Cincinnati."


The business division for Community Services West's Heritage Endowment Campaign was started last month at White Oak LaRosa's Restaurant.

Mike LaRosa, campaign chairman, hosted a reception at his restaurant to kick off the campaign along with co-chair John Lambrinides and Bob Maly of Great American Insurance Co., who is serving as chairman of the business division.

The campaign will raise funds to help Community Service West continue service to senior citizens on Cincinnati's west side.

Allen Howard's "Some Good News" column runs Sunday-Friday. If you have suggestions about outstanding achievements, or people who are uplifting to the Tristate, let him know at 768-8362, at or by fax at 768-8340.

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