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Board Approves Facilities, Site Master Plan for 2004-09

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors has endorsed a plan that charts the direction of the institution in terms of facilities and property holdings over the next five years.

The Facilities and Site Master Plan 2004-2009 is the latest in a series of facility-planning documents drafted by the College and its predecessor institution (Williamsport Area Community College) since 1967.

The primary factors shaping the plan are enrollment projections, the condition of existing facilities (and accompanying renovation needs), safety and security concerns, zoning and related restrictions, and land availability.

The plan was produced by Senior Vice President Dr. William J. Martin, with additional input provided by President’s Council and the Corporate Advisory Board at Penn College.

Noting last year’s opening of two new facilities (the Student and Administrative Services Center and the Rose Street Apartments student-housing complex), the completion of renovations at College Avenue Labs (the former HON Manufacturing plant), and the approval for construction of a new library at the main entrance (the Madigan Library and Learning Resources Center, currently in the design phase), the plan acknowledges that many vital concerns were addressed during the previous planning period.

“Given the period of campus growth and development between 2000 and 2003 that is virtually unprecedented in institutional history, and culminating with the approval of the Madigan and Library and Learning Resources Center, a significant number of needs of the campus have been addressed either through acquisition, new construction, or facilities in the planning stages,” the plan states.

Dr. Martin noted that, for the first time, the College has the ability to add facilities without having to acquire additional property for the 112-acre main campus. The main entrance at Maynard Street, which was acquired in 1997, has room for several more buildings in addition to the Student and Administrative Services Center, which opened in January 2003. The new $13 million library, which will be constructed with $7 million in state funds, will be situated on the southwest corner of the entrance, with a 2006 completion date anticipated.

In addition, if the College opts to build more student housing to keep pace with rising enrollment, there is sufficient space at the west end of campus near the College West Apartments and Rose Street Apartments student-housing complexes to accomplish that, Dr. Martin said.

While no major land acquisition is foreseen, Dr. Martin noted that also was the case before the properties for College Avenue Labs and Rose Street Apartments became available. In the past, when advantageous circumstances have arisen, the College’s administration and Board of Directors were willing to depart from the Facilities and Site Master Plan to capitalize upon the opportunities presented.

“These acquisitions have reduced the need for the College to take advantage of unforeseen circumstances to simply acquire land,” the plan states. “The probability of such opportunities arising, especially in the area of site expansion, has also diminished.”

The plan calls for the College to index on-campus housing capacity to enrollment, using a standard of 25 to 30 percent of the enrollment total. The 1,442 beds currently available on campus represent 23 percent of the Fall 2003 enrollment (6,255). Over the five-year life of the plan, enrollment is projected to moderate, growing at annual rates ranging from .73 percent to 2.54 percent.

In addition to the library, another major project to be completed during the life of the plan is the extensive renovation that already is under way at the most historic structure on campus: the circa-1913 Klump Academic Center (the former Williamsport High School). When completed in 2005, the Academic Center will have a new entrance, new roof, new HVAC system, new fire-alarm and sprinkler system, and a refurbished exterior. New classrooms will be created, and the former business offices which have been relocated to the Student and Administrative Services Center will be converted to faculty office space.

“Once again, the building will become truly an academic center, rather than an office building, and have a long life expectancy as such,” according to the plan.

After the new library is constructed and the Academic Center renovation is completed, there will be significant space available for retrofitting, including the former Automated Manufacturing lab in the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center (which moved to College Avenue Labs), as well as the current library and the office for the School of Integrated Studies, currently located in the Learning Resources Center.

“These vacated spaces constitute campus resources that must be wisely allocated,” the plan states. “They couple with other unallocated and unfinished spaces in College Avenue Labs and the Student and Administrative Services Center to comprise a sizeable asset to the College.”

The plan also recommends a number of areas that will require further investigation before specific strategies are formulated. They include science laboratories, the office of Strategic Planning and Research, offices for Workforce Development & Continuing Education, art studios, the Children’s Learning Center, executive offices, the infirmary, the School of Hospitality lab, student recreation facilities, campus dining facilities, classroom and faculty office spaces, campus grounds, and facilities for the School of Business and Computer Technologies.

Areas targeted for improvements during the life of the plan are the Carl Building Technologies Center (roof and labs), the Learning Resources Center (HVAC), the Campus View Apartments (roof), the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center (renovation and mechanicals), the Parkes Automotive Technology Center (mechanicals and renovation), the College Store (renovation), recreational green space (expansion), control systems (upgrades), and campus parking (additional spaces to keep pace with rising enrollment and more on-campus residents).

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