Board OKs $25 Million in New Funding for Building Program

Published 10.12.2000


The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors approved funding Oct. 12 for a building program that includes construction of a College Services Center to house most of the offices on campus that provide student-related services.

The Board approved a 30-year bond issue for construction of the College Services Center at the Maynard Street entranceway, extensive renovations to Lions Court and Bardo Gymnasium, continuing improvements to College West Apartments and the paving of gravel parking lots on West Third Street.

In addition, offices in the Klump Academic Center and the Learning Resources Center that will move to the College Services Center will be "retrofitted" for new uses. The bond issue also will enable the College to repay the $7.65 million purchase cost of College West, which re-opened under the College's ownership in August, and to restructure prior debt.

The $39.37 million bond issue includes $24,915,000 of new money, $10,050,000 for restructuring the 1996 bond series and $4,405,000 to restructure the 1997 bond series. It will have an average coupon of 5.463 percent and a net interest cost of 5.552 percent. Serving as bond counsel is Peter Beaman of Doepken, Keevican & Weiss, Pittsburgh.

Consolidating offices under one roof will provide a "one-stop" approach to student services. Offices that are tentatively scheduled to move to the College Services Center include: Admissions, the Advisement Center, College Information and Community Relations, Computer Services, Financial Aid, Financial Operations, Human Resources, the Information Center, Instructional Technology/Media/Distance Education, Registrar and Student Accounts.

The Lions Court renovations will create new spaces for the Campus Police and special-housing needs. Renovations at Bardo Gymnasium will improve the locker rooms, rest rooms, classrooms and office areas.

Penn College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour said the bond issue will not increase the debt-service impact on the operating budget or lead, in and of itself, to increased tuition or student-housing rates.

Dr. Gilmour also noted the building plan does not include construction of a new library or additional student housing. A new library still is a priority, but would be paid for with fund-raising initiatives and/or state funding.

"We intend to settle into our expanded housing at College West before we decide if our needs warrant any further addition of on-campus residences," she said. "I expect it will be several years − at least − before we consider that issue again. The library is, however, another issue. It is a priority. We need it, and we intend to pursue funding that will allow us to build a library without incurring more debt.

"My primary concern − and my commitment to the board − is holding the bottom line on direct costs to students. As much as we need this new and retrofitted space to better serve our students, we also need to keep costs affordable. We're dedicated to making necessary improvements in a cost-effective manner."

Design and construction timetables for the building program will be announced later. Dr. Gilmour said the College Services Center should be completed within 24 months. The board approved Martin Murray Associates as the architectural firm for the construction/renovation project.