Fenske Lab To Be Demolished, Replace By $144 Million Lab Building
The Board of Trustees approved final plans and a $144 million budget to demolish Fenske Laboratory in favor of a new, state-of-the-art research and instructional laboratory at the same site. Funds will come from borrowing, reserves for capital improvement, and gifts.
Seven years ago, Fenske was singled out and labeled “substandard and a threat to our continued accreditation” by ABET, which accredits university engineering programs. The building isn’t fit to be considered the core of scientific research at Penn State, but it also isn’t feasible to renovate the existing laboratory, so the building will instead be replaced.
Both chemical and biomedical engineering will be included in the site with room for growth in the future. The new 193,000-square-foot building will include two laboratories, classrooms, a large lecture hall, group study rooms, conference rooms, a Knowledge Commons location, and office space.
In campus master planning, a “greenway” was established that includes the site of Fenske. Building design will reflect this policy. Other site work will connect the building to the campus sidewalk network and preserve “significant existing trees.” The building will also feature a first-floor green roof, and its design will allow for future expansion to this campus location.
Those with labs and offices currently in the Fenske building will be relocated throughout construction.