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April 30, 2015

Work set to begin next month on Korean room

Construction on the Korean Heritage Room in the Cathedral of Learning still is set to begin construction on May 15, says Nationality Rooms Director E. Maxine Bruhns — despite that fact that “five big piles” of pine arrived deeply mildewed from Korea in mid-April.

The lumber already had been cut into shape to construct the traditional 17th-century wooden beams, pillars and ceiling materials in what is scheduled to become Pitt’s newest Nationality Room. However, the wood can’t be used, Bruhns said. “It has to be destroyed.”

Organizers will need $54,000 to purchase more wood, and now are looking at a West Virginia supplier. Because the wood apparently became wet in transit, insurance will not cover the costs, Bruhns said.

Nonetheless, six Korean carpenters, three Korean supervisors and a translator still are poised to begin 12-hour construction days in the middle of next month.

Approved in 2007, the Korean Heritage Room was slated to cost $650,000 and received much of its funding from the Korean community, including the Korea Foundation and Poongsan Corporation of Korea. The room’s design was patterned after Myung-ryoon-dang (the Hall of Enlightenment), the main lecture hall of Korea’s Royal Academy in Seoul.

“It’s going to be beautiful if we ever get it started,” Bruhns said.

—Marty Levine

Artist’s rendering of the Korean Nationality Room.

Artist’s rendering of the Korean Nationality Room.