Penn State

This is Penn State | What’s new on campus

Move over Bryce Jordan Center. There’s a new arena in town.

The Pegula Ice Arena, across University Drive from the BJC and home to Penn State’s men’s and women’s hockey teams, will open its doors in September, with a grand opening scheduled for Oct. 11.

Launched by an $88 million gift from Terry and Kim Pegula, the largest single donation in university history, the arena will play host this winter to Penn State’s inaugural Division I season. The Pegulas gave an additional $14 million to complete the 6,000 seat facility.

Among its features, the arena will offer two national chain restaurants, one serving sandwiches and the other pretzels, open to the public throughout the day.

Penn State’s latest sports palace may be the largest addition on campus, but it’s by no means the only one.

At the south end of the HUB lawn, construction continues on the Biobehavioral Health Building, slated to be finished by June 2015. Part of the $59 million project involves demolishing an aging wing of Henderson South building and renovating the rest, which eventually will join the new 93,000-square foot College of Health and Human Development building.

The venerable Nittany Lion Shrine also received a makeover this summer. Steps made out of limestone from Mount Nittany will lead up to the shrine, a popular landmark for visitors and alumni.

“You’ve got the lion sitting on this dramatic cascade of limestone in front of it,” said Paul Ruskin, a spokesman for the university’s Office of Physical Plant.

In addition, the shrine will be wheelchair-accessible from the back, and have improved lighting for nocturnal photographs. The new-look lion should be ready by Sept. 6.

Over at the South Halls housing complex, the dormitories’ first major renovation since their 1957 construction proceeds on schedule for a December 2014 completion.

Plans call for central social spaces for the 32 sororities in the complex, as well as additional insulation, modern windows, improved lighting with motion sensors in rooms and other energy conservation measures. Now housing about 1,000 students, the dormitories will have 144 more beds once the renovations are done.

Much farther off the beaten path, the Eva J. Pell Laboratory for Advance Biological Research will open this fall between the Ag Arena and Interstate 99. Not that the new lab, named for Penn State’s former senior vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School, would have many visitors if it were closer to the rest of campus.

Tagged with a “biosafety level 3 clearance,” the $23 million building will be used for immunology and infectious disease research.

Ruskin said the university, as usual, tried to get as much construction work done as possible during the summer semester to minimize noise and disruption throughout the school year.

“Basically it’s been a good summer,” he said. “OPP got a lot accomplished, and everything’s on track.”