Chancellor extolls physical plant improvements at New Kensington campus

Kevin Snider, chancellor of Penn State New Kensington, annually authors a story for Campus Philanthropy, the donor newsletter of the campus. His feature, “From the Chancellor’s Desk,” appears on the back cover of the news magazine that is published by the Office of Development for campus benefactors, alumni and friends. Below is a reprint from the fall 2013 edition that highlights the physical plant improvements during the past two years.

From the Chancellor’s Desk
The new semester is under way. It is our 56th fall opening overall and 47th at our present campus in Upper Burrell. Complementing the youthful faces of our freshman class is the youthful look of the campus. While faculty and staff were preparing curricular and extracurricular activities for the new academic year, the maintenance staff has been preparing the physical plant.

Spread out over 72 acres, our campus comprises 10 buildings, including a Conference Center, 350-seat Forum Theatre, 600-seat Athletics Center, Art Gallery, Computer Center and 11 specialized labs. In addition, we have a regulation-size soccer field, a well-groomed multi-purpose field and a golf practice area. Improvements and upgrades to facilities have been ongoing for the past few summers.

Last year, in order to improve the safety and accessibility, we closed the front entrance off Myers Drive and converted it into an environmentally-friendly rain garden that controls storm water. We rebuilt and reconfigured the parking lots, renovated the chemistry labs and enhanced landscaping of the Athletics Center. This year, the 45-year-old Athletics Center was fitted with a new roof and its brick façade was cleaned and grouted. The lobby, with a new floor, paint, lights, furniture and glass trophy shelves, became brighter place for students to congregate by adding “store-front-style” doors and windows, which allows more natural light. The basketball court also received a fresh coat of paint.

In the Administration building, a hallway ceiling system was installed with white tiles and new lighting. Natural lighting increased in the Arbuckle building and Blissell Library as new glass doors were hung. Additionally, another group of classrooms was upgraded. The beautification of the campus continued with increased seating niches, green space and landscaping in the Nittany Lion shrine area.

Just as our academics programs evolve to meet the challenges of the today’s world, our physical structure changes to meet the needs of today’s students. If you haven’t been to the campus for a while, stop by and see how far we have come from the fall 1966 semester when we began classes in the Engineering building, the first building on what was then, the new New Kensington campus.

For a history of the campus, visit


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Last Updated August 28, 2013