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Newly Expanded Earth Science Center Dedicated

A breath of fresh air wafted through the Montgomery area Thursday, as Pennsylvania College of Technology’s newly expanded Schneebeli Earth Science Center was dedicated.

The 10 a.m. program highlighted the students, faculty and staff of the School of Natural Resources Management, as well as representatives of the businesses and industries that support its enrollees and hire its graduates.

The program also honored the particular generosity of a Williamsport orthodontist and his wife, who contributed $236,000 to endow a scholarship and to help build and equip Penn College’s new diesel training facility at the Earth Science Center. The gift from Dr. Marshall D. Jr. and Mary Welch was comprised of $175,000 for construction and equipment for the center named for the Welch family and $61,000 for establishment of the Dr. and Mrs. Marshall D. Welch Jr. Endowed Scholarship.

“As Dr. Welch knows, no physical change is solely cosmetic,” said Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, College president. “In his profession, he has improved the smiles of countless patients and, in the process, bettered their sense of worth and self-confidence.

“His family’s donation has had a similar effect on this campus,” she added, “improving not only its appearance, but also the overall environment.”

Thursday’s event officially opened the diesel center, a vastly expanded sawmill operation, and other renovations designed to accommodate the rapidly growing curricula in the School of Natural Resources Management.

Joining Dr. Gilmour, who singled out the faculty and staff for enduring persistent disruption since construction began in January, was Dr. Robert E. Dunham, chairman of the College’s Board of Directors. The day included tours and demonstrations at various points throughout the site.

Project at a Glance

  • Cost approximately $4.2 million
  • About 31,000 square feet of new construction, expanding the Earth Science Center by some 60 percent
  • Sawmill enlarged to 6,000 feet, with a new main saw
  • Addition of the Marshall D. Welch Jr. and Family Diesel Training Center, an 18,000- square-foot work area with space to repair track and tire vehicles
  • Also added were new laboratories for Environmental Science, electrical and industry training; an expanded Nature’s Cove food-service facility, a new library and tutoring center, a computer room, and faculty and administrative offices
  • Existing classrooms and laboratories also were renovated, and there were general site improvements and increased parking
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