The College of Engineering’s undergraduate population has grown 43% since 2008, calling much-needed space for future students to come. Projections indicate that these numbers are set to continue to increase over the next decade. The school is set to undergo a two-phase $849 million renovation in order to upgrade the college’s facilities and technology, as well as expand its scope on campus.
The construction project will include building entirely new engineering buildings on campus to both “increase the quantity and improve the quality of the College of Engineering’s physical space,” according to the master plans. The intention is to create enough space to accommodate the needs of the college for the next ten years.
The renovation plans will be based on two five-year funding cycles from 2018-2023, and 2023-2028, and include the addition of potentially eight new facilities across campus.
The first site of construction, which is due to begin soon, will comprise of building new sets of engineering buildings on West Campus, which are now being used as surface parking lots on the opposite side of the IST Atherton bridge. The plans outline the idea for entirely new buildings, quads and a parking deck. West Campus has been seen as a wasted space to contractors, and they soon hope to use its potential to become a vibrant part of the Penn State campus.
The new buildings, currently named West 1 and West 2, will house two new teaching and research facilities, expanding campus beyond Atherton. These new buildings are intended to house the growing number of engineering students at Penn State UP.
The second site will focus on “core campus,” or existing sites on campus such as Hammond, Sackett and the Engineering Units. The Hammond Building and Engineering Units will reportedly be demolished completely, while Sackett is set to be renovated, with an addition of a north wing added on to the Sackett building. The new facilities built in place of Hammond and Sackett are set to reach up to five stories, giving main campus a bit of a facelift as the old structures are upgraded.
The renovation is set to target the College of Engineering’s rapid growth in population, as engineering majors are recorded to be some of the most popular majors at Penn State campuses. As the undergraduate and graduate area of study becomes a more popular choice among students, the college itself will continue to grow to match the growing interest in the field.
Construction is set to officially begin by the end of this year, breaking ground on the West Campus Parking Deck.