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Lycoming College music hall land development gets positive recommendation

A new $5.5 million Lycoming College music facility moved a step closer to actual construction in the East Third Street Old City Redevelopment area.

The City Planning Commission gave a positive recommendation for the college’s land development plan for the music hall to be built at 334 Basin St.

Recommending the land development plan with a 4-0-2 vote were: Harry Sechler, commission chairman; Chelsea Rawson, Cindi Eyster, Tony Nardi and Naomi Brown.

Commission members Chip Plankenhorn and William Rischar were absent. Two other members, Christopher Keiser and Matthew Vanaskie, abstained in the vote due to their conflicts of interest on the project.

So far, there haven’t been any noticable impediments to the planned construction, according to Gary Knarr, city zoning

administrator. A prior request for lot consolidation and a demolition plan were approved, he said.

Nardi, looking at the design plans on the land development proposal, noticed the music hall’s amphitheater steps designed for holding classes outside.

College officials also indicated the outside feature to add overall ambiance to the project.

The building will accompany nearby Mary Welch Honors Hall, which is just east of the project along Basin and East Fourth street.

The music facility is a part of the transformation of the college’s southwestern campus and accompanies the planned streetscape design aspects the city is moving ahead on along East Fourth Street as part of the Old City redevelopment, Knarr said.

The specifications on the plan indicated it is a 14,000 square foot building. It will house rehearsal and recital space, classrooms, soundproof practice rooms, and offices for music faculty.

On the main campus, Clarke Chapel will no longer house the music program, but will remain a primary location for performance, worship, and community space, college officials said.

The plan includes conditions such as ensuring the stormwater management does not impact the facility or site. Those issues are being done in coordination with the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority. Grafius Run goes beneath the site, so engineers want to make sure that waterway, which enters the city from Loyalsock Township, and takes a sharp turn to the east and through the college, emptying into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, is covered and there are no subsidence concerns, Knarr said.

The music building represents the first significant capital investment in the music program in more than 75 years, college officials said.

In terms of getting the land development approved, so the construction can commence, the plan must go before City Council for a vote, Knarr said.

In previous council discussion no member has indicated it has anything but a desire for the college and city to see the project happen on time.

The college said the facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2022.

The commission also gave a positive recommendation to Mirabito Properties for a lot consolidation request at 924 Memorial Ave. and it tabled or delayed a decision on a lot demolition-lot consolidation and land development for additional parking requested by Hedrick Hardware, 1254 W. Fourth St. The owners were not at the meeting and commission members had questions.

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