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Academy of Music board approves study for next wave of restoration

The goal is to completely weather-seal the building from top to bottom.

Brownstone atop the Academy of Music was restored in the summer of 2016.
Brownstone atop the Academy of Music was restored in the summer of 2016.Read moreMICHAEL ARES / Staff Photographer

Major exterior work could be on the horizon for the Academy of Music.

This week, the Academy board approved a preliminary step toward an initiative that would address the condition of the exterior: the brick and mortar, a substantial portion of the roof, the brownstone balconies, window sashes and frames, the exterior stairs and handrails on the Locust Street side, the charming but neglected cupola rising from the roof, and the cornice that hugs the building at the roof line, mostly along the Locust and Broad Street sides.

This first step involves documenting the conditions of these building features so a price tag can be calculated for the project. "And then we can all come to the table and figure out how we are going to pay for it," said Caroline B. "Cackie" Rogers, chairwoman of the Academy board.

The project could take several years, but would achieve the "weatherproofing and long-term durability and aesthetic unification of the structure," said Sam Olshin of Atkin Olshin Schade Architects, which will assess the building over the next few months. "Everything that has been deferred maintenance would finally be addressed."

No work is planned on the ceiling mural in the main auditorium, which cries out for restoration.

"Triage among all these projects is a big deal," says Mario Mestichelli, vice president and CFO of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which owns the Academy. "There is more to do than we have the resources to do in this building."