Construction update: Most projects nearly completed

Bill Woodard
August 05, 2014

With the start of fall classes less than three weeks away, the construction season is winding down at Penn State New Kensington.

For the past five months, the campus has undergone a series of renovations to improve safety and accessibility, and to upgrade existing facilities. The most visible projects are redesigned areas -- Café 780 courtyard and the Junction coffee bar. By the start of classes, most projects will be completed, and students will be able to reap the benefits.  

For more information on campus projects, contact Randy Tressler at 724-334-6122 or


Café 780 Courtyard
A pergola, constructed off the side entrance of the Café 780, will give the courtyard a more intimate feel. Also known as an arbor, a pergola is a type of gazebo that features a shaded sitting area of vertical posts and cross-beams supporting open lattice. The lattice will be covered with woody vines. In addition, the courtyard will feature a new fire pit, along with new furniture. New trees will be planted and new lighting installed. The bulk of the work is expected to be completed by Aug. 23 with the finishing touches, such as benches, remaining to be installed.

Junction Coffee Bar
Located in the lobby of the main entrance, the new coffee bar has the look of a mini-Starbucks and will serve Starbucks products. The upgrades will allow the Junction to enhance services. Operated by AVI, the campus food service, the Junction complements the campus cafeteria, Cafe 780, as a breakfast, lunch and dinner destination for the campus and local business communities. The bar serves coffee, latte and cappuccino, hot and iced, as well as flavored smoothies. Featured items include bagels, sandwiches, muffins, cookies, pasties, yogurt, fruit salads and fresh fruit. Delivery of the flooring is the main culprit to the Junction not opening in time for the start of fall classes. It should be operational in September.

Athletics Center
Among upgrades to the Athletics Center are air conditioning for the basketball court, wrestling room, racquetball court and the new pilates/yoga room. Replete with mirrors and a sound system, the pilates room should be ready when classes begin. However, the project is awaiting heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, which may delay occupancy of the building until September.

BET/Rad Sci Labs
The fully-equipped student Intensive Care Unit lab for the Biomedical Engineering Technology program will be completely renovated. The work will improve safety and allow for more hands-on instruction. The new equipment has arrived and should be ready for the first day of classes. Many improvements have also been made to the Radiological Sciences lab.

Sustainability Projects
Sustainable and environmentally-friendly additions -- development of a composting site and expansion of the pollinator garden -- are on schedule. The two projects are funded by an $11,000 grant to the campus Green team by the Sustainable Institute at Penn State.

Other improvements
New exterior doors and renovations of Room 132 are slated for the Engineering building. Both will be open for classes while the finishing touches are applied. In addition, the final phase of the exterior lighting and external signage projects is now complete.

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Last Updated August 06, 2014