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Board Of Trustees Approves Plans For New $228 Million Engineering Facility

Penn State’s Board of Trustees met Friday to unanimously approve plans for and authorize the use of funds to construct a new College of Engineering building on the west side of campus.

The building, known as Engineering Research and Teaching Space 1 or West 1, will span 290,000 square feet, easily making it the largest academic facility on campus. It will be located just off of White Course Drive north of the Earth and Engineering Sciences.

The facility’s $228 million construction is part of the university’s multi-phase plan to boost the College of Engineering’s facilities and resources.

West 1 will house the college’s aerospace, architectural, civil, and environmental engineering departments. It’ll also feature research labs, classrooms, office spaces, a small library, food service, and even a few common areas for students.

Bill Sitzabee, vice president for facilities management and chief facilities officer, said the new space will help the College of Engineering better accommodate its growing student body. He estimated its entire population has grown by 12,000 students since 2008, including a 43% growth in undergraduate student enrollment.

“The Penn State engineering facilities have not kept pace with the growth in numbers and complexity of the research,” Sitzabee said in a committee meeting Thursday. “Our ability to recruit and retain the best faculty and researchers is significantly impacted by the quality of the facilities and drove the need for a comprehensive college-level master plan.”

About $163 million, more than 70% of the project’s cost, is funded through the state’s Department of General Services. The remaining funding will be covered through $30 million in borrowing, $22 million in philanthropy, and more than $12 million in cash reserves.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

By day, Matt is a senior majoring in journalism. By night, he's Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football lover, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza and "Arrested Development" quotes. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ if you hate yourself or email Matt at [email protected] if you hate him.

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