New Outdoor Amphitheater Nearing Completion

Posted on November 22, 2019 in Special Projects

Outdoor amphitheater in progress, with structure and roof.

After years of careful planning and budgeting, the new Hawk Mountain amphitheater has finally broken ground as of this August, and the bones of this beast are beginning to take shape. 

Hawk Mountain, through a lead gift given by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, has developed plans for a more widely accessible education system, which includes a fully ADA-accessible campus from the new amphitheater, to the Visitor Center and Native Plant Garden, to the already ADA-accessible Silhouette Trail leading to South Lookout. This series of capital projects will help the Sanctuary to reach an even broader group of conservationists and nature-lovers. 

These plans were developed after the need arose for a more functional, accessible outdoor space. This would require more covered areas that allow visitors to learn in nature while having protection from the elements, as well as better seating than the Sanctuary’s previous wooden benches, which would retain moisture. This new site would also need to keep in line with the look and feel of Hawk Mountain as a conservatory nestled within its natural surroundings rather than separate from them. 
Despite the long road to groundbreaking, construction is fast-moving at the amphitheater site, just south of the Visitor Center. At the end of September, the timbers were set, and the storage room is up, making for a rough structure. This past week, stonework was completed at the site of the amphitheater, and construction has started on the theater’s roof boards. Before the project can be dubbed finished, all these aspects of the theater must be completed, along with the construction of the stage.

According to Todd Bauman, Hawk Mountain’s Director of Stewardship, the amphitheater aspect of this project should be completed by the beginning of December.

Community involvement is an important part of this endeavor, and the Sanctuary is pleased to have found a local contractor, White Horse Construction, based out of Lancaster, PA. The timbers for this project are even PA-raised.

Once the amphitheater is finished, work can begin on the accessible trail from the amphitheater to the Visitor Center. At the end of November, work will begin with rough grading as contractors lay the initial stones for the path. Come springtime, the trail will be smoothed and ready for visitors. Bauman estimates that this component will be complete by mid-May. After adding some finishing touches, all aspects of the amphitheater will be ready for use by summer 2020. 

The amphitheater’s construction was originally set to begin in 2014 and to be completed by 2015, but after administrative changes at the Sanctuary, the venture was put on hold and left in a state of limbo for several years. While this setback was not ideal, it allowed for more careful consideration of the project’s necessities, and this reevaluation included full staff collaboration. 

If you have any questions about the new amphitheater or our plans for an ADA-accessible campus, please contact us at 610-756-6961 or [email protected]. If you are interested in supporting our future accessibility plans, please contact Mary Linkevich at 610-765-6000 ext 212 or [email protected].