As a result of the completion of the Kutztown University overall Campus Master Plan, the university determined a need for a strategic development plan for the University’s Anthropology Department as a museum complex known as the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center (Heritage Center). The site of the Heritage Center is comprised of approximately 20 acres and is home to several buildings associated with Pennsylvania German settlers in Pennsylvania. The mission of the Heritage Center is to preserve and educate visitors about Pennsylvania German culture and history. This mission is achieved by preservation efforts and educational programming, including folklife festivals, lectures, and seminars about the Pennsylvania German culture as well agricultural, environmental and ecology learning. The Heritage Center is part of the educational programming at Kutztown University as well as a public resource, regional tourism destination, and is available for school and public tours throughout the year.
SGA was retained as part of a team of consultants to create a strategic development plan for the site, its buildings and structures as well as site management protocols. SGA’s design addressed complex issues ranging from maintaining historic integrity, improving the visitor’s experience while achieving educational goals, and addressing complex campus wide stormwater management, environmental, and transportation connectivity needs. Site improvements included new parking areas, pedestrian circulation, interpretative areas, restored historically appropriate plantings, and signage. Prior to SGA’s involvement, campus stormwater management had been addressed through traditional spot engineering solutions which had limited or no ecological value. SGA’s design took a holistic Best Management Practices approach integrating natural processes into the design of larger stormwater management in the form of series of interconnected native species planted bio-retention areas that form a meandering greenway through portions of the campus and the Heritage Center. The plan for the Heritage Center addressed the placement of introduced buildings while also accommodating future growth of the campus and center’s culturally significant landscape view sheds.