Penn State

Two new residence halls among construction projects at Penn State

By the time Penn State’s record incoming class begins its sophomore year, there will be more room to go around.

Two residence halls, totaling about $100 million, are scheduled to be completed by next July, while the Intramural Building’s 34,600-gross-square-foot addition will open a month later. The projects are overseen by the university’s Office of Physical Plant, and are part of a five-year capital plan totaling $3.28 billion.

A new North Halls residence, located behind Holmes Hall near East Park Avenue, will hold 310 beds, with the bulk distributed among double rooms. The five-story, approximately 86,000-square-foot building has a budget of about $33.5 million.

East Halls, meanwhile, will add a 96,000-square-foot residence hall housing 336 beds. The construction will stretch to nearby Stuart Hall and Findlay Commons Dining Hall, where each will receive large-scale renovations. Stuart Hall will get a 67,000-square-foot renovation, while the dining commons will tack on a 5,800-square-foot addition to its existing 123,500-square-foot building.

The IM Building, one of the campus’s three recreational and fitness facilities, continues to grow. A 48,000-square-foot addition, including several multipurpose rooms and a new entry walkway, was completed in 2014. By next August, the extra 34,600 square feet will house an indoor turf field, a climbing wall and squash courts. There will also be additional multipurpose rooms, according to the OPP.

The OPP presented the projects to the board of trustees in September 2015. Growing enrollment coupled with aging structures across campus prompted the plan, which focuses on renovating existing facilities through 2018.

Total incoming enrollment is expected to be 8,900 when classes begin on Aug. 22, the most in the school’s history. Penn State received a record 132,000 applications for the current academic year, with about 18,000 accepting offers across the university’s campuses.

At Penn State’s the University Park campus, 65 percent of the buildings are more than 25 years old. “Significant renovations,” the OPP said, are required to keep up with research and teaching needs of the university.

“This plan for the long-term protection of our physcial assets is an investment in our future,” OPP Vice President Ford Styker said in a statement. “These improved facilities will better serve the teaching and research missions of the university and strengthen Penn State for years to come.”

The plan is funded through several sources, including tuition and about $40 million in state funding. Funding will also come from self-supporting units such as the Hershey Medical Center, major gifts and student facility fees.

Tuition rates at University Park increased by 2.3 percent for in-state students and about 3.4 percent for those coming from outside Pennsylvania for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy


Basic description

Construction status

Completion date

Budget amount

Thomas Building and Greenberg

Major renovation project is complete. Minor interior renovations are taking place this summer in preparation for the new chemical and bioengineering building.



$4.8 million

Morgan Academic Center

Consolidates Morgan Academic Center functions from across campus into one location, within the Greenberg Building.


June 2016

$7.2 million

IM Building

Construct an approximate 34,600-gross-square-foot addition to the building, which will include an indoor turf field, climbing wall, squash courts and several multipurpose and support spaces.

In construction

August 2017

$29.34 million


Replace existing lighting with new more efficient LED lighting.

In construction

August 2016

$1.75 million

Lasch Building

Renovate locker and equipment rooms.


July 2016

$12.0 million

Rec Hall Lorenzo Wrestling Complex

Renovate the hydrotherapy areas.

In construction

November 2016

$1.11 million

Findlay Commons

Renovate the existing dining hall.

In construction

December 2016

$25.1 million

East Halls

Construct a new 336-bed residence hall.

In construction

July 2017

$65.1 million

Ag Engineering Building

Renovations to portion of existing building and complete reconstruction of other portions.

To start August 2016

December 2018

$44.5 million

North Halls

Construct new 310-bed residence hall.

In construction

July 2017

$33.55 million

Parking Revenue Control System

All parking decks will install a new parking access control system that will display the number of spaces available and establish a 24/7 communications system for visitors. HUB, Elliott and Rider parking decks will undergo repairs and proactive maintenance.



$1.9 million

Rec facility

Will provide a controlled single access point to portions of Rec Hall, White Building and the Natatorium. This will include installation of staffed entry desks and turnstiles.

In construction

December 2016

$7.5 million

Steidle Building

Renovation of existing building and addition.


June 2016

$52 million

Data Center

New facility to support general and research computing needs for University Park and Penn State Health (Hershey).


August 2016

$58 million

Water treatment plant

New facility to provide high level filtration of campus water system. The project also includes upgrades to the existing water distribution system, including towers and underground piping.

In construction

November 2016

$62 million

West Campus steam plant

Ongoing renovations to the steam plant.

In construction

July 2017

$48.3 million

Whitmore Lab

Renovations to the undergraduate chemistry teaching labs on the first and second floors of the building.


August 2016

$31.7 million

Ritenour Building

Renovations to the east wing of Ritenour. Will create a student-focused facility to enhance collaboration and consolidate academic advising offices.

In construction

October 2016

$6.51 million

Source: Penn State