The University Record, April 23, 1996

Historic Burnham House will be moved to Arboretum

The historic Burnham House at 940 Maiden Lane, purchased last year by the University, will be relocated near the Ronald McDonald House and directly next to the Washington Heights Drive pedestrian entrance to the Nichols Arboretum.

The new site is located on property owned by the Forest Hills Cemetery. The University will lease the land from Forest Hills over a 50-year term for $50 each year, explained Executive Vice President Farris W. Womac k. The proposed site was approved by the Regents at their April meeting.

Last September, the Regents were asked to consider relocating the Burnham House to University land at the Arboretum entrance on Geddes Road.

"As a result of concerns raised by individuals that reside in the neighborhood along Geddes, the Regents requested that alternative sites be explored," Womack said.

The School of Natural Resources and Environment, which manages the Arboretum, had asked if the Burnham House could be relocated and used as an Urban Environmental Education Center, he said.

The School has been "exploring the idea of developing such a center to provide a location for school children, adults, lawmakers, and others to come together for environmental education, to act as a platform for interdisciplinary environmental research proposals, and to demonstrate the latest in environment-sensitive landscape and construction. The School believes this relocated house, in lieu of a new facility, could meet the programmatic needs of the Center as well as providing historical value."

"Quinn Evans, a local firm that has national recognition in historic preservation, has been consulted in the evaluation of the new site," Womack added.

"The project would involve moving the house from its present location, constructing a finished basement to be used for meeting space, completing utility connections, landscaping, and renovations within the house.

"The cost of the project is estimated to be $485,000," Womack said. "The School has identified $206,000 of the total amount required. They are optimistic that the balance will be raised between now and the time the design documents are completed."

James A. Kosteva, director of community relations, added, "The University hopes this solution satisfies many of the concerns expressed by neighbors and is in the best interest of the Arboretum. This project has the potential of meeting the Arboretum's objective of establishing a facility for enriching the awareness and deepening the appreciation of our natural systems for students and community groups."