Penn State

Panera, laundry app, library commons: Here’s what’s new at Penn State this fall

Why is scaffolding covering a Penn State landmark?

The bell tower of Penn State's Old Main is covered as restoration work continues.
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The bell tower of Penn State's Old Main is covered as restoration work continues.

With students, faculty and staff flooding back to campus for the start of Penn State’s fall semester, here are some of the biggest changes since many left campus in the spring.

Panera takeover

The artisanal breads and comforting soups of St. Louis-based chain Panera will greet students and staff who once frequented the Au Bon Pain locations on campus. Panera Bread acquired Au Bon Pain in November 2017, according to a Penn State News release discussing the campus dining changes. Au Bon Pain locations in Kern Building, West Gate, Zoller Gallery and Katz Building closed June 18 and are set to open this semester fully remodeled as Paneras. The Kern Building location will offer online ordering and rapid pickup, said the release.

New laundry app

App-based laundry service Tide University Laundry is launching this fall at Penn State, one of more than 20 universities with the program. On Monday, almost 100 lockers will be installed on campus in residential commons for students to drop off and pick up laundry. The turnaround time for dropped off laundry to be returned clean and folded is 48 hours, according to a release from Penn State News. The service also offers dry cleaning and dry-cleaning-only plans for faculty and staff. The MyLaundry app allows students to track their bag and notifies them when their clothes are ready for pickup. The service operates Monday through Saturday every week. Annual plans start at $649 per year at 10 pounds per week, and semester plans are also offered. For more information, or to purchase plans, visit or call 844-745-0498.

LGBTQA resource center changes name

With a new year comes a new name. The LGBTQA Student Resource Center is now known as the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity as of July 1. The goal of the name change, Director Brian Patchcoski told Penn State News, is to “highlight the breadth of work being done and provide a more inclusive entry point for those who struggle to find their identity within the letters LGBTQ or A.” Though the center will continue to offer the same support and resources, it hopes to expand its network to include students who fall outside the acronym. Located in 101 Boucke Building, the center provides education, information and advocacy services for sexually and gender diverse students, faculty and staff. To find out more about programming and resources, visit

The crowd cheers during the Penn State pride march in April, hosted by LGBTQA Student Resource Center, which is now the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. Abby Drey

McCoy outdoor pool

McCoy Natatorium outdoor pool, which was closed for the summer due to repairs starting in June, will be open at the start of classes, said an OPP spokesman. Repairs and upgrades included maintenance and improvements to pool support systems and the painting of pool and dive tower, said the spokesman. Indoor pools, which were available all summer while the outdoor pool was closed, will remain available for aquatic activities.

New library space

Pattee Library and Paterno Library have a newly renovated, four-story expansion common space called the Collaborative Commons and Central Atrium. The Commons, which is an opened-up renovation of a former outdoor courtyard and ground floor, is open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week with extended weekend hours when classes are in session. The new Dr. Keiko Miwa Ross Garden Terrace, which leads to the ground-floor entrance, features landscaping, Wi-Fi connectivity and black lighting towers for USB and grounded power ports. On the ground floor, 16 group study rooms are available for reservation and a large multipurpose room in the middle seats up to 175 people. Whiteboard are stationed around for group work and collaboration. A new two-level central atrium and staircase lead to the first floor and a hallway that connects the Commons, Commons service desk and Weltmann Lobby. The second and third floors house the Library Learning Services department and the Libraries’ Research Informatics and Publishing team, respectively.