Committee endorses design, construction start for Morgan Academic Support Center

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— The Penn State Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning today (Sept. 17) recommended approval of the design and an authorization to construct a project to convert the Greenberg Indoor Sports Complex into the new home for the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes. The full board will vote on the recommendation on Friday, Sept. 18.

The team of PJ Dick of Pittsburgh, and Hoffman Leakey Architects of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, have designed and will construct the estimated $7.2 million project. If approved, the Morgan Academic Center project will tentatively begin early phases this month, with completion slated for before the start of the fall 2016 semester.  

The Morgan Academic Support Center is a vital component in keeping Penn State’s academic services and the academic performance of its approximately 800 student-athletes at the forefront among the nation’s premier Division I institutions. Tutoring, advising, computer labs, group study areas and meeting rooms are currently located in four separate locations on the University Park campus: East Area Locker Room, Lasch Football Building, Rec Hall and the Bank of America Career Services Building.

The proposed project will consolidate the Morgan Academic Center to include all services and staff in one physical location to better support and advise student-athletes, while providing them with a more student-centered academic support facility. The project includes office space for staff members, such as academic counselors, learning specialists and a sports psychologist; collaborative learning spaces; along with conference rooms, classroom space, a multimedia interview room, and student lounge. The facility also will house the new student-athlete welfare and development unit and feature state-of-the art technological enhancements, including wireless access, charging and printing stations and other improvements.

“We are committed to creating conditions for success for our student-athletes in every aspect of their Penn State experience,” said Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. “Our No. 1 commitment will always be the academic pursuits and achievement of our students and preparing them for success after graduation. Consolidating all the staff and services of the Morgan Academic Center into one central location will have a tremendous impact for our students and foster even greater academic achievements.”

In October 2014, the NCAA reported that Penn State student-athletes continue to graduate well above their peers, with an 89 percent Graduation Success Rate, seven points above the national Division I average. Penn State’s graduation rate is second highest among Big Ten Conference institutions.

The Greenberg Indoor Sports Complex was vacated with the completion of the Pegula Ice Arena in 2013. The majority of the first floor has since been renovated to serve as a swing space for multiple science laboratories being renovated as part of the University’s five-year capital renewal plan. The remainder of the first floor and a portion of the ground floor will be renovated for the Morgan Academic Center project to accommodate students from the University’s 31 varsity sports programs.

The mission of the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes is to provide appropriate academic support services to all student-athletes, including academic counseling, a first-year enrichment program, which includes two seminar courses and a study table program, individualized learning support services, career development and access to a sports psychologist.

The Morgan Academic Center project is included in the “Bridge to the Future” Fund, which will enable Penn State Athletics to renovate and upgrade athletic facilities for the basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, track and field and volleyball programs. Barbour gave the first major gift of $100,000 to the fund last winter for the Morgan Academic Center project.

 

Last Updated September 17, 2015