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Video Tribute, Open House to Celebrate Renovated Academic Center

Pennsylvania College of Technology invites the public to share in celebrating the completion of extensive renovations at its most historic building, the Klump Academic Center, formerly the Williamsport High School.

A video tribute to the building, “Time Will Explain it All,” will be shown at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Sundays throughout February on SusCom (the local cable TV provider) Channel 2. The video documents the building’s history and most recent renovations, and includes an interview with Paul Warnick, who began teaching at Williamsport High School in 1949 and was head principal when the institution moved from its West Third Street home.

Additional interviews include current Penn College staff and faculty members who attended high school in the 90-year-old building and others who were involved in the renovation. The video was produced, filmed and edited by James R. Dougherty, digital media developer for the College.

The public also is invited to an open house at the recently rededicated building on Saturday, March 19, from 3 to 5 p.m. The open house will follow Spring Visitation Day at the College, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Williamsport High School Class of 1914 became the first to graduate at the facility after the original high school building, located at Walnut and Third streets, burned on April 4, 1914. The building that now houses the Klump Academic Center was already under construction when the fire occurred.

Since then, the building has remained a home for teaching and learning, with a wing added in 1934.

In 1939, physical-education classes were moved out of the building when a separate gymnasium was built across West Third Street.

Out of Williamsport High School’s adult-education classes was born the Williamsport Technical Institute, the first predecessor of Penn College. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Dr. George H. Parkes, head of industrial education at the high school, developed the “Williamsport Plan,” which earned national headlines. He responded to a survey of local industry to find out what types of workers were needed, and he trained the unemployed to fill those jobs. Dr. Parkes founded W.T.I. in 1941 and remained at its helm until his retirement in 1957.

High-school classes continued to be taught in the main building until the student population more than 2,000 students in 10th through 12th grades outgrew the structure.

In 1965, W.T.I. became Williamsport Area Community College. For several years, W.A.C.C. held classes in the high school after the high-school classes were finished for the day. The College acquired the building when Williamsport Area High School moved to a new facility in January 1972, and it has continued to serve as a key center for classroom instruction.

The recent $9 million renovation reclaimed space formerly used for such office functions as admissions and financial aid (which moved to the newly constructed Student and Administrative Services Center in 2003), returning them to classroom space and faculty offices.

The renovated facility features classrooms with state-of-the-art multimedia technology, and the entire structure was upgraded to meet existing building codes and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. New fire-alarm and fire-suppression/sprinkler systems also were installed.

In addition to airing on SusCom Channel 2 throughout February, “Time Will Explain It All” is available for viewing on the Penn College Web site .

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