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Board Views Construction Materials, Bids Farewell to Vice Chair


The architect for the Stage X Building Program construction/renovation projects on Thursday gave members of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors an in-depth look at exterior-design renderings and the building materials that will be used in the various aspects of the program.

The board also approved the appointment of the college’s auditing firm and learned that one of its members, vice chair Ronna M. Cassotis, is retiring in June.

Board of Directors' meeting summarized for campus communityBenedict H. Dubbs, a principal with Murray Associates Architects, P.C., Harrisburg, showed exterior “elevation” sketches of the impending building program in a PowerPoint presentation. He also displayed many of the materials to be used in construction of the student housing for 250-plus students on the west end of campus, as well as in the major renovations at the Hager Lifelong Education Center, the Parkes Automotive Technology Center and the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center/Machining Technologies Center.

Dubbs said the masonry and stucco materials to be used in the student-housing construction resemble those in the facade of another housing facility on the west end of campus. “The palette is very similar to the current Rose Street (Apartments) building,” he told the board. A glass-enclosed dining area will be a focal point of the new structure. “Low-E” (low-emissivity) coatings on the glass will be used throughout. “We’re trying to be energy-conscious,” Dubbs said.

The major renovation projects will feature similar materials, too, including dark stone, light stone, cream-colored brick and metal panels and screens. The renovated buildings will receive new blue roofs, as well. Some design features and materials will call to mind College Avenue Labs and the Student and Administrative Services Center.

“We really do want people to come on campus and feel like it’s a cohesive place,” said Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.

“Most of these materials are seen somewhere else on campus, right?” added Board of Directors Chairman Robert E. Dunham.

Gilmour said the board will be shown the interior design materials before the project goes out for contractors’ bids in October.

The board authorized the college to continue operations after June 30 at budgeted levels approved for Fiscal Year 2007-08. The routine action is taken in case the state budget is not passed by June 30.

The board also authorized the appointment of Larson, Kellett & Associates, P.C. to perform auditing services for the college for the fiscal years 2008 through 2010. The board also approved compensation for the firm for that time frame and approved Larson’s engagement letter to audit the college’s financial records for the fiscal year ending June 30. Robert M. Fisher, vice president for business affairs, said the action affords the college the flexibility to change auditing firms in the future, if it sees fit.

Cassotis, who participated in her final meeting on Thursday, will be replaced by Lynda Livingston, vice president of PDC Spas Inc., Williamsport, who was appointed by The Corporation for Penn State.

“Ronna, we’re going to miss you. “¦ you’ve done a terrific job,” Dunham said.

Cassotis, who was presented with a gift by Gilmour, said she will continue to support the board and the college after her retirement.

“It has been an honor,” she said of her service.

Gilmour told the board the 2008-09 budgeting process is continuing, and this year is presenting unique challenges in addition to the expected increases for items like energy costs and health insurance. Among them are increasing costs for building supplies used in the construction majors and escalating prices for many food items used in culinary instruction.

“Our goal is to keep any tuition increase as low as possible,” she told the board.

Gilmour noted the passing on Monday of Dr. Kenneth E. Carl, the first president of Williamsport Area Community College and director of Williamsport Technical Institute.

“He strongly believed in this place. “¦his legacy lives on with us,” she said.

Gilmour also addressed the success of the recent Career Expo, noting in particular that Northrup Grumman hired 11 students from the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies on the day of the event and is “coming back for the 12th.” She also told the board that, according to surveys of the participating employers, 72 percent of those who have hired Penn College students/graduates in the past are more likely to hire another, based on their experiences.

Lizabeth S. Mullens, vice president for academic affairs/provost, reported that nine faculty members have successfully completed promotion applications; their promotions are effective at the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year.

  • John R. Bartolomucci, instructor of plastics technology in the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies, will become assistant professor
  • Lisa R. Bock, instructor of computer information technology in the School of Business and Computer Technologies, will become assistant professor
  • Gary R. DiPalma, instructor of graphic design in the School of Integrated Studies, will become assistant professor
  • Richard L. Druckenmiller, instructor of building construction technology in the School of Construction and Design Technologies, will become assistant professor
  • Kathleen K. Gudgel, instructor of nursing in the School of Health Sciences, will become assistant professor
  • Gerri F. Luke, assistant professor of business administration and marketing in the School of Business and Computer Technologies, will become associate professor
  • Steven R. Parker, instructor of environmental technology in the School of Natural Resources Management, will become assistant professor
  • Keith A. Vanderlin, instructor of graphic design in the School of Integrated Studies, will become assistant professor
  • Tim E. Weston, assistant professor of plastics technology in the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies, will become associate professor

Three sabbatical applications have been approved for the 2008-09 academic year, as well, Mullens said.

Monica J. Lanczak, instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts in the School of Hospitality, will travel to France, Italy and Switzerland in Fall 2008 to explore new techniques in patisserie, including production methods and equipment. Additionally, Lanczak will pursue the Executive Pastry Chef Certification through the American Culinary Federation. She will develop learning strategies and materials to increase her expertise in teaching and to enhance the learning of her students. The impetus for Lanczak’s sabbatical arose from a program review conducted during the academic year.

Susan Koons-Slamka, assistant professor of human services/psychology in the School of Integrated Studies, will engage in professional development in Fall 2008 to strengthen her preparation in developmental psychopathology and skill in parent/child interaction intervention approaches. Her sabbatical grew out of the most recent Human Services program review, in which key constituents indicated the need for course work designed to focus on issues related to children with mental-health and behavioral needs. Koons-Slamka’s sabbatical will culminate in the development of a child psychopathology course for human service students and others interested in working with children in mental-health settings.

In Spring 2009, Debra S. Morris, assistant professor of English/technical communication in the School of Integrated Studies, will research and develop a course packet designed to support learning for more than 500 students in ENL 201 (Technical and Professional Communication). She will work with public and private, for-profit, and nonprofit organizations to acquire and analyze working documents and discover insights into the development and use of technical documents in the industry. Based on her research, Morris will develop a paper for publication in a technical writing or communication journal.

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