Trustees committee approves facilities improvement projects

Susan Bedsworth
January 15, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning today (Jan. 15) endorsed builders for projects that will improve the experience for students, faculty and staff working in the Department  of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Housing and Food Services.

Renovations to Agricultural Engineering Building

The Agricultural Engineering Building, home to the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE), was originally constructed in the 1930s and received its last renovations in the 1960s. Today, the ABE department has outgrown its current facilities.

The department’s mission is to advance the engineering sciences, business and technical management of agricultural systems, which include production, processing, utilization and value recovery of biological products and the management of natural resources. The work completed in ABE will only continue to grow in importance in the coming decades as they seek to find the means to feed the planet’s increasing population.

Undergraduate enrollment in ABE has increased by 250 percent since 2001, with an increase in research expenditures of 200 percent in just the past eight years. Combined with the new technologies and teaching approaches available today, a renovation of the front and a replacement of the rear sections of the building are required.

The Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning approved the appointment of EYP of New York, New York, as the designer of the Agricultural Engineering Building renovation at University Park. The Board of Trustees will consider approval at its meeting Jan. 16.

Expansion of Housing and Food Services, and Penn State Bakery

The Housing and Food Services Warehouse and Bakery facility was built in 1989. The three-story, 94,000-square-foot structure supports food service operations at University Park and 11 Commonwealth Campuses.

The current capacity of the warehouse and bakery space has been stretched due to a number of factors. In the past several years, the facility has added service to additional areas of the University, including Penn State Athletics, campus childcare centers, the Creamery and a variety of other campus venues. In addition, Food Services has transitioned many of its purchases to direct manufacturer relationships, which has reduced costs but increased warehousing requirements. Finally, students continue to look for an increase in diversity from dining operations, as well as an increase in the availability of retail and grab-and-go items.

The renovations include increasing the capacity of the freezer, cooler and dry goods storage; installing new blast freezers; improving work flow and eliminating conflicts; reorganizing and expanding the bakery; constructing office space; implementing building security upgrades and replacing aging and inefficient building systems. In total, the project will include about 40,000 square feet of renovated space and the addition of 20,000 square feet of new space.

The expansion will allow the University to better meet customer expectations and to continue to capitalize on manufacturer relationships producing additional cost savings.

The total project budget is $15.5 million with funding coming from Housing and Food Services reserves.

The Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning approved the final plans and authorization to expend funds for the Housing and Food Services Warehouse and Bakery expansion project. The Board of Trustees will consider approval at its meeting on Jan. 16.

Last Updated January 15, 2015