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Committee Approves Team for East Halls Renovations, More HUB Funding

The Board of Trustees’ Committee on Finance and Capital Planning endorsed a design build team for the proposed East Halls renovation project during its meeting this morning at The Penn Stater.

The proposed plan will renovate two buildings at a time, and the board will vote on each renovation. First, a new residence hall in East will be constructed to offset the loss of beds from the closed halls. The plan is to match the amenities of renovated residence halls with double rooms, along with shared private bathrooms, lounge and study space, and movable furniture, according to Ford Stryker, associate vice president for the Office of Physical Plant.

When the South Halls renovations are completed in December, only 27 percent of on-campus rooms will be new or renovated since 1966, the year that East Halls was finished.

“Students and their families have expectations of college living that are much different now from what they were when our facilities were first built,” said Gail Hurley, the associate vice president for Auxiliary and Business Services. “Although location is still a major consideration in a student’s decision to live on or off campus, privacy, amenities and costs are other critical factors…monies must be earmarked for the systematic renewal of our facilities over and above deferred maintenance needs.”

In other news, the committee also discussed additional funding for the HUB-Robeson Center renovation project. If approved by the full board tomorrow, the University will be authorized to spend an additional $6.2 million above the original amount of $44.6 million. Construction to more than double the size of the HUB began in May of 2013, and is projected to be finished next May.

Stryker said there were a number of unforeseen conditions with the existing building structure, foundation, and other subsurface conditions that contributed to the cost increase. Additional funds will come from Student Facility Fees, HUB and Bookstore reserves, Food Services, energy, and major maintenance.

Finally, the committee recommended final plans to authorize $54 million for the Data Center at The Hershey Medical Center. The project will be primarily funded by self-supported borrowing and reserves for capital improvement. Plans for the University Park data center are expected to be presented to the board in March 2015.

“To protect the University’s data and continue business as usual in the event of a disaster, the Hershey data center will back up the University Park data center, and the University Park data center will back up the Hershey data center,” Stryker said.

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