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Penn State campus to expand community center

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A look at the design for the Penn State Schuylkill Student Community Center project in Schuylkill Haven. Spillman Farmer Architects of Bethlehem is the architect for the $6.5 million project.
A look at the design for the Penn State Schuylkill Student Community Center project in Schuylkill Haven. Spillman Farmer Architects of Bethlehem is the architect for the $6.5 million project. - (Photo / )

By the start of the 2018 fall semester, students at one Penn State campus can enjoy dining in an expanded facility.

Alvin H. Butz Inc. of Allentown is teaming with Spillman Farmer Architects of Bethlehem on a $6.5 million project to create an addition and renovation to the Penn State Schuylkill Student Community Center in Schuylkill Haven.

Butz will serve as the construction manager on the design-build team, with Spillman as the architect.

The construction includes renovating 9,000 square feet of space and expanding the building’s footprint by 5,000 square feet to make the dining facility larger and more efficient, Butz said. Workers will phase in the construction with much of the work occurring over the summer to allow for uninterrupted meal service during the remainder of the 2017-18 school year.

The project should take six months, with construction starting in February, followed by completion in August.

Features of the building include a modern exterior with glass façade, new indoor and outdoor seating, expanded kitchen and service areas, additional rest rooms and a reconfigured loading dock.

“We have a student center that was built in the 1980s; it hasn’t had significant renovations in a number of years,” said Darcy Medica, chancellor for Penn State Schuylkill. “We are adding to the dining area to provide more healthy options, a lot of different options for the students specifically.”

The building will have a much larger kitchen and dining area as well as an outdoor patio dining area that can also be used for outdoor classes, she said.

“We are also looking at adding a stage within the dining area,” Medica said.

The building will be environmentally friendly too, and include a lot of glass, which will provide for natural daylight, she said. There will also be some areas where the glass will be tinted so the inside temperature can be controlled without cranking up the air conditioning. An overhanging roof will add shading and the campus is re-using a lot of the kitchen equipment and saving money by not buying new, she said.

She said the campus would also be looking at more sustainable ways of preparing food.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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