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Plans For Replacement Of Penn State’s Henning Building Move Forward

Penn State’s proposed replacement of the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Henning Building took a step forward on Wednesday as State College Planning Commission recommended approval of final plans.

The existing Henning Building, on Shortlidge Road, was constructed in 1967 and is home to the animal science and veterinary and biomedical science departments. According to the university, the 62,000 square foot building and infrastructure have reached the end of their useful lives, are no longer able to support the growing needs of the departments, and will be demolished.

It will be replaced with a new 60,800 square foot building that will have state-of-the-art labs and teaching spaces and an updated vivarium. It also is expected to accommodate projected future growth for the two departments.

Maria Papacharalambous, of architect HOK, told planning commission that the first floor will have administrative offices for the departments, a lounge, and two classroom spaces. The second floor will have labs and offices for veterinary and biomedical science, with the same on the third floor for the animal science department.

The new vivarium, compliant with Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care standards, will be located in the basement area.

A connector to the Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building will have a study lounge and open conference areas.

The first floor of the building will be recessed to create an overhang.

The exterior of the building will be primarily brick, with punched openings for glass. A stone component is being considered but may be replaced with glass fiber reinforced concrete because bid proposals have been higher than expected, Papacharalambous said. The brick will be similar to that on the nearby Business Building.

“It’s contextual,” Papacharalambous said. “It’s a pretty simple building but we feel like it fits the context and the environment pretty well.”

Primary entrances — a ramp and steps — will be on the Shortlidge side of the building, with a secondary entrance at the plaza between the new building and ASI Building. A redesign of the plaza is being considered as a bid alternate, Papacharalambous said.

Site work will include new concrete walkways, a repaved parking area, and utility infrastructure installation. Major trees will be preserved, with selected trees and shrubs removed to accommodate construction, according to the plans. 

The projected total project cost is $89.6 million, according to bid documents. Pending approval of final plans by the borough council, Penn State’s Board of Trustees is expected to vote on approving plans and expenditures in November.

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Geoff Rushton (

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.

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