Plans approved for Harrisburg residence hall

Hershey, Pa. — Penn State's Board of Trustees today (March 20) approved the final design and authorized the awarding of contracts for the construction of a new residence hall at Penn State Harrisburg.

The four-story, 100-bed apartment-style project to serve first-year students was designed by the architectural firm of SMP Architects of Philadelphia and construction is expected to be completed in time for the fall 2010 semester. The new building will bring the number of students housed on campus to 430.

With the continued growth in enrollments at Penn State Harrisburg, the need to increase housing capacity has prompted the project. The waiting list for housing continues to grow each year as the campus and University Housing and Food Services work to implement a plan for replacing beds previously available to students on campus when Meade Heights and Church and Wrisberg Halls were in operation.

"With our increasing enrollment and demand for on-campus housing, the new residence hall will fill a critical void and will serve us well in meeting the needs of our first-year student population," said Penn State Harrisburg Chancellor Madlyn L. Hanes. "We are grateful the trustees have approved the plan and look forward to the completion of the construction phase."

In keeping with the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability, the $10 million, 30,000-square-foot project is planned to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified and considers energy efficiency, including a ground-coupled geothermal system, which will heat and cool the building. "The design is conceived as a living and learning opportunity for students to understand the daily impact they have on our environment," said Edward Dankanich, director of Business Services. "Faculty are already engaged in developing educational opportunities including storm water management, landscaping, soil conservation and energy-saving mechanical systems."

"The floor plan for the second, third, and fourth floors are identical," said Donald Holtzman, senior director of Student Services. "The design is not simply a dormitory. The primary guiding principle of the new housing is the grouping of student rooms around community spaces that will encourage student interaction." Each group of student rooms includes four double suites with shared bathrooms for a total of 16 students and four bathrooms per pod. Each floor consists of two groupings with a study area and lounge in the center. There also is a resident assistant apartment on each floor.

The new residence hall, the adjacent Student Community Center and existing apartments will frame a new exterior quad, which will include new walkways connecting all buildings. The facility’s look will mirror the previous housing. The entire complex is conveniently located close to the library, academic core of campus, and recreation facilities.

The first floor main entrance will lead to a reception desk and sitting area. Also included on that level are a housing office, two-bedroom staff apartment, mechanical rooms, laundry and building storage. The facility also is serviced by an elevator.

The advent of all-new student apartment-style housing at Penn State Harrisburg began in August 2002 with the opening of accommodations for 300 students. That was followed in 2005 with additional similar housing for 32 first-year students.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010