Renovation projects to improve student life and learning

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning today (May 8) recommended for approval a variety of renovation projects designed to provide extra swing space for laboratories and enhance the student experience at University Park. The full board will vote on the recommendations at its meeting on Friday (May 9).

Greenberg Ice Pavilion

The committee recommended the appointment of the design build team of PJ Dick Inc. of Pittsburgh to design and build a renovation of the Greenberg Ice Pavilion at University Park.

Since the completion of Pegula Ice Arena in 2013, the Greenberg ice rink next to the Lasch Football Building between McKean and Hastings roads, has been decommissioned and the building has not been reassigned. The Greenberg complex was previously the home of Penn State hockey teams and community skating.

Space needs on the University Park campus continue to be tight and renovation schedules often require occupants to be temporarily relocated. There is no longer enough unoccupied laboratory space to meet teaching needs while laboratory space in other buildings is renovated. Repurposing of the Greenberg Ice Pavilion appears to be a promising solution.

A variety of studies on swing space alternatives have shown that the Greenberg conversion can provide temporary laboratory swing space and a new location for the Morgan Academic Center so that students will not need to travel across campus to its currently dispersed locations. It also will have the least impact on construction schedules.

The project is expected to be complete in time to serve students in summer 2015, and the design will allow continued repurposing of laboratory space.

Steidle Building

The committee recommended approval of final plans to renovate Steidle Building. Modern labs are needed to better attract top students and win research grants for faculty. The 86,000-square-foot building, built in 1931 with an addition added in 1939, houses the College of Earth and Mineral Science’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Most of the outdated labs in Steidle no longer have the utilities or functions needed for modern materials science. The original laboratory benches are at or near the end of their useful life cycles. Cramped conditions have led to improvised research and office spaces. Some areas of the building have  insufficient electrical capacity and other mechanical systems are failing. Some research is delayed in the summer because of humidity or temperature fluctuations.

The 1931 portion of Steidle Building will be renovated, the 1939 addition will be demolished and the interior of the remaining structure will be infilled with approximately 40,000 square feet of new space.

The total project budget for the Steidle Building addition and renovation will be $52 million with the funding coming from reserves for capital improvement.

McCoy Natatorium

The committee also recommended approval of final plans and authorization to award contracts for the McCoy Natatorium pool renovation and air handling unit replacement. The Natatorium provides fitness and swimming competition opportunities for students, and is especially popular due to its proximity to East Halls, the largest residential area on campus.

The pools, decks and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems in McCoy Natatorium, built in 1967, require replacement. The air handling unit stopped working in fall 2013, and tiles in the two pools are in disrepair. 

The University intends to replace the air handling unit, and to renovate the pools and decks. The project scope also includes piping for the water filtration system, new ladders, pool lights and starting blocks. 

If approved by the full board, the most pressing project elements will be started this summer, while the balance of the work will be phased over the next several years as schedules permit.

Cannon Design of Baltimore was appointed by the Board of Trustees in November 2011 to design an addition to the Natatorium and the firm was retained for this project because of its expertise in pool design.

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Last Updated May 08, 2014