The community can expect to see construction on Penn State’s campus until 2018.
This year began the university’s five-year capital plan, which includes $2.7 billion for “the renewal of existing facilities and systems as an investment in the future,” said Jill Shockey, manager of the news bureau at Penn State.
Construction is already underway on at least 10 building projects, including the construction of a new residence hall and upgrades to other on-campus living at South Halls.
Three major projects should be completed this year: the Cafe Laura renovation, the Frear South Building phase II renovation and the South Halls renovation and new dormitory, Chace Hall.
Cafe Laura closed in April but is expected to reopen in time for the first day of the fall semester.
The project was funded in part by a gift from Panda Express and a donor Penn State would not name.
Café Laura is an on-campus restaurant that trains Penn State hospitality management students.
Shockey said the renovations would include new carpet and chairs and services such as the “grab-n-go cafe” near the main entrance of the Mateer Building that will serve Starbucks coffee.
The South Frear phase II renovation project will cost the university $18.1 million. The facility houses the center for microbial structural biology.
Renovations will include upgrading its teaching and research labs, Shockey said.
Construction by Barton Malow began in February 2013 and should be completed this month, according to Penn State.
On March 16, 2012, the Penn State board of trustees approved a plan to renovate all four duplex residence hall buildings of the South Halls complex.
Construction began in May 2012 and will continue through the end of the year, Shockey said.
The $94.1 million project includes the addition of a new residence hall called Chace Hall and infrastructure upgrades funded by a combination of housing and food service reserves and debt to be repaid by housing, Shockey said.
South Halls’ four buildings comprise Cooper, Cross, Ewing, Haller, Hibbs, Hoyt, Lyons and Stephens residence halls, which were built in 1957 and have never seen a significant upgrade, Shockey said.
The dorms house 1,215 students, Shockey said, including about half of Penn State’s sororities.
David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business, said the renovation would create 32 living-learning communities and will “enable us to move all of our sororities into one complex.”
Chace Hall is a 45,000-square-foot, four-story residence hall with 211 beds in 108 rooms, according to a news release from Penn State. It was built at the intersection of Shortlidge and McKean roads and is open for the fall semester, Shockey said.
Shockey said the new residence hall was completed to help compensate for dorms that are closed for renovations.
The first phase of the South Halls project started with the renovations of Haller and Lyons halls and the start of the new building’s construction. Renovations of Ewing and Cross halls began in spring 2013, followed by Cooper and Hoyt halls earlier this year.
Hibbs and Stephens halls are under construction, but will open for use in January, Shockey said.