In a Jan. 11 letter about a student housing project at Penn State Abington, author Barry Fenchak conveys considerable misinformation.
The $50.6 million project to create a 402-bed apartment-style complex on a university-owned parcel ($125,000/bed) has spent to date not $10 million, as Fenchak claims, but $3.2 million — which is part of the overall price tag, not in addition. His claim that the project costs “twice as much” as privately owned projects is simply not supported by evidence when compared to similar projects.
This project has been carefully studied for more than six years with input and guidance from board members and has included extensive public discussion. This project should not have come as a surprise.
Each apartment in this project can house four to six students. This project will help keep Penn State Abington competitive, as well as improve the academic success and social experiences of students. The Philadelphia region (including New Jersey) is a significant market for Penn State, since 40 percent of undergraduate students in the entire university come from there. It is the single largest market area from which Penn State draws.
In addition, this single project is estimated to result in $25 million in economic output during construction and 50 permanent new jobs with an expected $5 million in economic impact.
I hope this clarifies many of Fenchak’s assertions.
David Rose, University Park
The writer is assistant vice president for auxiliary and business services at Penn State.