In my almost two years as Buildings and Grounds Manager here at Villa Finale, the one project that has always been on my table is the Visitor Center. Now that the project is almost complete I wanted to take a moment and reflect.
One of the more fun and challenging aspects of this project was that we do not own the building. We have a long term lease with the gentleman that owns the building. I have truly enjoyed balancing the relationship of making our improvements while being cognizant of the fact that we do not own the building. Our Architectural Firm, FisherHeck Architects, did wonderful job in designing the changes that were made to the building so that everything is in-keeping with and sensitive to the character of the building.
The project team has also made significant efforts to make this building as environmentally sensitive as possible. One of the big ways that we feel we can make an impact on this cause, especially in Texas, is in water conservation. We are proposing to replace the existing ground cover of grass, Asiatic Jasmine, and dirt, with decomposed granite. This will help to retain moisture more efficiently in the hot, dry Texas climate.
Most of all, I am very thankful for all of the assistance and hard work of everyone who has been involved with this project. A special thanks to Eve Errickson, Contracts Manager, and Barbara Campagna, Graham Gund Architect, at National Trust Headquarters in DC. Without these two ladies, this project would not have happened. I have enjoyed every minute of this project and cannot wait for it to be open to and enjoyed by the public.
When is that??? You may ask. Well, the project is not entirely finished yet. We still have to have our computers and phones to be hooked up. The exhibit cases are in the early stages of being built and then installed…but, we are close. So, stay tuned for further updates.