Proposals for construction projects approved

Alex Pettenati, left, Molly Ripp and Gabrielle Corso took advantage of the beautiful weather and studied for their Genetics final exam outside Henderson Building on May 4. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

MONACA, Pa. – The Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning today (July 16) approved proposals for designers for an agricultural digester, replacement of dairy barns and renovations to the Deike Building. It also heard updates on three projects in progress.

New Projects

Deike Building Renovations

The University plans to renovate three floors of the Deike Building, built in 1965, to provide modern laboratory space for the Department of Geosciences. The department offers degrees in geosciences, geobiology, earth sciences, and policy and earth sciences.

The project includes the creation of a clean room, as well as clean and wet chemistry labs, instruments rooms, teaching labs, field equipment shops and related spaces. The new 21st-century labs will replace those currently in the Hosler Building, which was constructed in the 1950s. In addition, improvements to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems also will occur.

The committee recommended the approval of the appointment of Bostwick Design Partnership of Cleveland, Ohio to design the Deike Building renovations.


The University is a leader in dairy research, teaching and extension activities. This includes management of the Penn State dairy herds and other livestock. The dairy complex at University Park, north of Park Avenue and east of University Drive, is close to campus to allow for maximum student engagement, but its location magnifies the associated handling of manure.

Currently, Penn State transports unprocessed manure for spreading on nearly 1,500 acres of University-owned land, including fields near the University Park Airport. Restrictions apply that limit where and when application may occur.

Improvements to the manure management process include the construction of a complete mix digester to convert raw manure to digestate for land application. The ability to convert raw manure to this condition allows the University to apply with no restrictions to the 1,500 acres, easing the current challenges the byproduct creates.

In addition, the two outdated existing barns in the Dairy Complex will be demolished and replaced with one free stall barn, which also will facilitate manure management.

The committee also recommended the approval of the appointment of Mascaro Construction Co. of Pittsburgh to design and build the agricultural digester and dairy barn replacement.

Construction Updates

Penn State Hershey Medical Center Data Center

The data center at Penn State Hershey, which broke ground Jan. 14, provides increased capacity to meet the medical center’s health care, administrative and research computing needs. In order to protect the University’s data and continue business in the event of a disaster, the Hershey data center and the University Park data center will provide backup for each other.

The Hershey data center is currently on schedule to open in April 2016. Structural steel and roof installation is complete, while exterior metal stud framing is about 90 percent finished and precast panel installation is underway. The installation of the underground conduit for the two transformers is also complete.

Intramural Building

Phase two of the Intramural (IM) Building expansion at University Park opened in May. The expansion provides students an attractive recreational space on the East side of campus.

On the lower level, a deficit in locker-room facilities for women was corrected with a reconfiguration and air conditioning was added. There are now 376 new lockers and 17 showers. The 10 existing racquetball courts were upgraded and the new multi-activity courts can accommodate volleyball, basketball, soccer and badminton. There is a new running track that encircles the gym on the mezzanine level.

“This project is a major step to improving our student recreation facilities,” said Tom Lovins, athletics services manager. “A special thanks goes out to our student body for providing the funding to make this project a reality. It has been warmly received by our students as we are seeing more than 70,000 users per month.”

The third phase of the IM Building renovation includes an indoor turf field, training rooms, squash courts and space for adventure recreation sports.

Health and Human Development Building

The new Health and Human Development Building includes a 78,000-square-foot addition connected to a 35,000-square-foot renovation. The renovated building was formerly part of Henderson South.

The entry lobby boasts an impressive atrium and central commons area offering an abundance of natural light from the four-story glass wall facing College Avenue. The perimeter of both the east and west wings of the building are lined with office and conference rooms, and the fourth level contains special space for graduate research assistants and post-doctoral scholars, as well as a one-button video studio to enable researchers to disseminate their work.

The existing renovated wing is primarily made up of classrooms and laboratories that are ready for student return in the fall. The expansion and consolidation addresses the space deficiency issues for the College of Health and Human Development. The exterior brick and limestone design complete the transformation of the eastern architectural border of Old Main Lawn, along with the Henderson and Biobehavioral Health buildings.

Dean Ann Crouter emphasized that the new building enabled the College of Health and Human Development to bring together units and projects that had been widely dispersed across campus and in rented space in downtown State College Borough. As she put it, “The new building provides badly needed space for research and teaching, including the informal gathering spaces that are so important for creating collaborations and a sense of community.”

Last Updated July 21, 2015