PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Trustees (Finally) Approve $100 Million Residence Hall Additions At Brandywine and Abington

The Board of Trustees met Tuesday via teleconference to discuss and eventually approve $100 million in capital expenses at the Penn State Brandywine and Abington campuses. The projects — a residence hall at each campus and a new student union building/dining hall at Brandywine — were tabled at the full board meeting in November at the request of Governor Tom Wolf and his representatives.

All alumni trustees and many gubernatorial trustees urged the board to table the project to take the time to further study those campuses and the large expense at the November meeting. “I think we can spend a couple of more months at this, and talk about it more and get a little more information, and then have another discussion,” Trustee Anthony Lubrano said at the time.

In his closing remarks in November, Chairman of the Board Keith Masser urged the trustees to take the time to learn more about the projects, ask questions, and “be prepared to vote yes or no by December.” It’s worth nothing that about $15 million had already been put into the three projects for contracting and design work.

“Since that time a number of questions have been asked about these projects,” Chair Masser said during today’s conference call. “Through the thoughtful and good work of our administration each trustee has received in advance on informational document that addresses the questions that were raised.”

Vice President for Finance & Business David Gray noted that further delay for the projects could push the completion timeline back a full year and would ultimately cost the university more money.

“An investment in residence life facilities at Abington and Brandywine will help them to hold their own among the other institutions in the region and help them to grow by enhancing their ability to attract international and out of service area students,” read today’s meeting’s agenda.

The proposal to approve the residence halls also included a directive for the university to give a serious look at the potential for future public-private partnerships, which would put the ownership of on-campus residence halls in the hands of private realtors while still giving Penn State some control over the buildings, which some say could reduce costs.

As per most Trustee meetings these days, things got complicated with a number of resolutions and amendments. Trustee Elliott Weinstein wanted a motion to require a mandatory public-private partnership consideration for all student housing projects and non-academic related facilities (Weinstein is a realty consultant by trade). There was also an amendment to include a three-year moratorium on room and board expenses and a mandate for the administration to present a budget plan to that effect at the next meeting.

Most of the hour-long conference call revolved around discussions and confusions about the wording of these amendments. Some trustees, like Matt Schuyler, opined that the Board should just “trust the administration” and approve the non-binding public-private partnership language in the original resolution. The alumni trustees and ex officio political trustees wanted that commitment to be more severe and permanent.

“I really appreciate the proposal from Trustee Weinstein and the discussions about the public private partnerships. However I do agree this is too quick,” student trustee Luke Metaxas said. “I think that this should be more aggressive, and as a student I think we should take the time and make the right decision. I agree with other trustees I would like to see further discussion but I do not agree with this amendment.”

Weinstein’s motion ultimately failed with a 21-14 vote, and the original motion (approval for the residence halls and the suggestion for further considerations into public-private partnerships) passed 22-13.

tl;dr — The university will build a residence hall with 258 beds and a 31,000 square foot student union building and dining hall at the Brandywine campus. Abington is also getting an off campus apartment-style residence halls with 402 beds. It will cost the university about $100 million to complete, and some trustees were upset at that steep price and the lack of future binding public-private partnership provisions.

The Board’s next full meeting is in Hershey on February 25. Perhaps “the Sweetest Place on Earth” will make our Board a little more fun.

About the Author


More by Megan

Wilkes-Barre Campus Closed Due To Bomb Threat

A threatening message was discovered on a bathroom door in the campus’ Science Center that warned a bomb was in the building, and it would detonate some time before noon on Friday, March 4.

Graduate School Revokes Doctorate For Plagiarism

Penn State Professor Receives Presidential Honor


North Dakota Interested In Playing Against Penn State Hockey In Nashville

North Dakota is working towards an agreement that will see its hockey team play against Penn State in Nashville during the 2020-21 season.

Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims

Max Sauve Commits To Penn State Hockey

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Student Life

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

State Theatre Recognized As A State College Historic Site

As it approaches the 80th anniversary of its opening, the State Theatre has been recognized as a State College historic site.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend