Old Main renovations to begin in January

December 20, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In November, Penn State’s Board of Trustees approved the final plans for renovations to Old Main. Primary work on the historic lobby will begin in January to stabilize the environment, add sprinkler coverage and replace the lighting. Subsequent work on offices around the outside of the building will begin in April. All construction and renovation should be complete by next fall.

When holiday travelers return after the winter break, the Old Main lobby and main staircase will be closed. Contractors will be erecting scaffolding to work on the ceiling. Staff and visitors will still be able to enter Old Main from the front doors that face College Avenue, but they will be directed around the edges of the lobby to the wing corridors through April. Access to the President’s Office will be via the second-floor balcony only, accessed from the stairwells at either end of the second-floor hallways.

Most of the contractor work will take place outside of normal business hours, from approximately 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. There will be construction fencing and reconfigured parking behind the building. The project scope also includes replacing the building's domestic water system. In January, the west restrooms will be off line. The women’s restroom in the lobby will close and the men’s restroom will become a unisex restroom.

Starting in April, contractors will begin work on replacing the perimeter heating system. Most staff will remain in their offices during the construction. Alternative office space is available for individuals who might have to move temporarily during the construction project.

Construction and renovations are expected to be completed by the fall of 2013. These critical utility replacements and upgrades will prevent future failures in the building’s heating and plumbing systems. In addition, the new temperature and humidity controls in the lobby will help preserve the historic frescoes painted by Henry Varnum Poor in the 1940s. The end result will be a building renewal that maximizes today’s technologies and preserves the architectural integrity of a campus icon.

To see a slideshow of past and present photos of Old Main's interior, visit http://live.psu.edu/flickrset/72157632289365750.

  • Old Main Frescoes 2012

    Old Main renovations include conservation of the Land Grant Frescoes. To see past and present Old Main photos, click on the image above.

    IMAGE: Patrick Mansell

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 08, 2013