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Jul 20, 2010 6:06 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Parrish Art Museum construction begins with fanfare

Jul 20, 2010 6:06 PM

WATER MILL—Bulldozers began scraping the ground flat at the future site of the new Parrish Art Museum early Tuesday morning, starting what is expected to be 18 to 20 months of construction on the new 34,500-square-foot building.

A day earlier, Governor David A. Paterson and U.S. Representative Tim Bishop headlined an array of local politicians and museum officials who took part in the ceremonial ground-breaking at the 14-acre Montauk Highway property on the outskirts of Water Mill that will house the new museum.

“The new Parrish, with its educational and programming facilities, is positioned to be a magnet of culture on the East End,” Mr. Paterson said. “It will enhance the cultural thread of New York State. All of us will be glad to say we were there that day.”

The Parrish has been pressing to expand or move out of its cramped Southampton Village facilities for more than 10 years. The additional space the new building will allow for is expected to enhance educational and cultural programs at the museum and permit more full-time displays of the museum’s treasured permanent collection.

“We want the Parrish to be the center for cultural engagement on the East End,” Museum Board Treasurer Norman Peck said at Monday’s private ceremony. “With God’s help, and your help—because money won’t hurt—we will build a museum ... for today and for many tomorrows.”

The new museum is expected to cost between $20 million and $25 million to complete, a fraction of the $80 million the original drafts for the Parrish’s long-planned expansion was to cost. Financial constraints forced the museum leadership to go back to the drawing board with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, resulting in the 600-foot-long, 100-foot-wide structure—covering 60,000 square feet of ground, including the wrap-around porch and covered patio space at the western end of the building—that will sprout from the former tree nursery in Water Mill over the next two years. The interior space is 34,500 square feet.

The construction itself will be done by Ben Krupinski Builders of East Hampton and be overseen by administrative architect Douglas Moyer, also of East Hampton.

“Anytime I see heavy equipment ready to go to work on Long Island, it brings me pleasure,” Mr. Bishop said, pointing to four bulldozers parked on the property on Monday. “We need to put people to work, and this project will do that.”

Museum Director Terrie Sultan said that the museum hopes to open the new facility in the spring or early summer of 2012.

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The Parish has turned it's back on Southampton Village after so many years of support and the location -- on the most traffic-clogged section of Montauk Highway -- is terrible beyond belief. The museum should have proposed an expansion to the existing property that was appropriate for the current location in SH Village and they could have been done with this years ago -- and for a ton less money.
By Casey22 (3), East Hampton on Jul 23, 10 9:59 PM
2 members liked this comment
The museum tried diligently to expand their building at the Jobs Lane location but the village stopped them at every turn.

I am just so terribly disappointed that museum chose a foreign architectural firm instead of hiring one our great, talented local architects.

This act flies in the face of the museum's mantra of " we support the local artists".
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Jul 28, 10 11:22 PM
The museum is basically a summer place. It is crazy to spend so much money to build outside of Southampton Village.

I worked at the Parrish in 1971 and we had a budget of about $75K. The director at the time, Jean Weber, was imaginative and we made do with the little money there was. Very sad to see them moving out of that beautiful building. Why could they not have hooked up with the library next door?
By ritarig (1), Middletown, NJ on Jul 24, 10 6:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
They didn't like the building on Jobs Lane. Called it a mausoleum and wanted to tear the entire front off of it. Steps, walls, gates and all. They want to be a regional museum, not a just local one, so want a bigger place. Let's wish them much success. Let them build something to their own taste and leave Samuel Parrish's charming building alone.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jul 25, 10 8:40 PM
Wahhh, (stomping of feet), "We don't like our mausoleum".

Another tract of farmland gone, and what are they selling that topsoil for? We don't need to grow food, that' not important. Exposing "The Hamptons" to the entire world, as a "regional museum", NOW THAT'S IMPORTANT!!!!!

I had always wondered myself why they did not use the old library building...
Jul 27, 10 1:33 PM appended by Mr. Z
Almost no matter what it is, or who it is out here anymore, nothing is EVER enough, is it? We always "need" things to be bigger, faster, showier, and "better", don't we? Here's an exemplary quote, you do the "maht": "Only in America would there be a guy cocaine just wasn't good enough for." -Dennis Leary
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 27, 10 1:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
As an addendum, the Parrish enjoyed lousy attendance all these past years due to it's dull programs. Now that they have moved to the middle of nowhere it will never have any walk in traffic at all.

The new location will prove to be an absolute disaster.
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Jul 28, 10 11:31 PM