Classroom building at Penn State Hazleton to receive facelift in two phases

HERSHEY, Pa. -- The Penn State Board of Trustees Friday (Feb. 26) approved final plans for the renovation of the Kostos Building at Penn State Hazleton. The $15.5 million project will completely renovate the interior of the four-story, 38,500-square-foot building. Construction will begin immediately following the spring semester.

Built in 1970, Kostos is the largest classroom building on campus and houses classrooms, faculty offices and laboratories for biology, chemistry, engineering and physics. The renovation will reorganize and modernize all interior space in the building, which has not seen a major renovation since it was constructed nearly a half-century ago. All of its mechanical systems will be replaced, improving energy efficiency.

“As our primary classroom building, Kostos needs to be representative of the type of progressive education offered at Penn State Hazleton,” campus Chancellor Gary M. Lawler said. “The renovation will modernize the building and elevate it to a new level of learning.”

The construction will be completed in two phases. Phase I, which begins in May, includes the renovation of the ground, first and second floors. A modular chemistry laboratory will be used during this phase, which is scheduled for completion in July 2017. Phase II will occur from April to September of 2017 and will involve the renovation of the third floor. Completion of the Kostos Building is expected in September 2017.

The building’s layout will be redesigned to better serve students and faculty alike. The current entrance is inadequate to handle traffic flow during class changes, and a new larger entrance will be moved to the south side of the building along the campus mall.

Classroom and laboratory spaces will be redesigned and more appropriately sized to incorporate new approaches in teaching and learning. The laboratories will receive updated equipment and will be located near related classroom and faculty research spaces. New group study spaces will be added to increase student and faculty collaboration, and faculty office space and laboratories will be redesigned to better organize departments.

“The new faculty research spaces will allow faculty to continue their research and also will create new opportunities for undergraduate research, a highlight of the student experience at Penn State Hazleton,” Lawler said.

In addition, as part of the renovation, the largest lecture hall on campus, Kostos Room 1, will be improved.  In total, after the renovation, the building will feature 10 classrooms; seven laboratories for information sciences and technology, engineering, physics, biology and chemistry; 15 faculty offices; four research spaces and four student collaboration areas.

“In addition to the full renovation of the interior, all windows will be replaced. The existing brick facades will be repaired and the building will receive new roofing. In addition, the building will receive air-conditioning and a new fire sprinkler system,” said Christa Kraftician, director of Spillman Farmer Architects, the firm that designed the project. Since the renovation meets standards for the design of high-performance green buildings, its new windows, doors, exterior wall insulation, lighting fixtures, mechanical system and roofing add to its efficiency.

The building is named for Frank C. Kostos, who served as campus director for 19 years and was instrumental in overseeing Penn State Hazleton’s move to its current location in 1948.

Last Updated February 26, 2016