Administration to Consider Expanding Stage VIII Building Program

Published 12.15.2001


The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors has authorized the College administration to prepare a plan exploring the feasibility of and financing options for constructing additional student housing of up to 350 beds and renovating at least five buildings on the main campus.

On Thursday, the Board directed Penn College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour to begin preparing the financial and planning documents that will be presented at the Feb. 21 Board meeting. The administration is considering expanding the College's Stage VIII Building Program to include provisions for new student housing and renovations to the former HON Industries manufacturing facility, as well as retrofitting of spaces that will be vacated when work is completed at the former HON site.

The Stage VIII Building Program, which was initiated in 2000-01, currently is focused on construction of the Student and Administrative Services Center, renovations to College West student housing, conversion of Lion's Court to Penn's Loft and property acquisition. For the planning process in the expanded building program, the College will call upon the expertise of Murray Associates Architects. For financing advice, the College will rely upon PNC Capital Markets and Mellon Financial Markets.

"The acquisition of the former HON facility presents wonderful opportunities for improving instructional programs by adding classroom and laboratory space" both in the HON building and in the areas that will be vacated by programs relocating to that space," Dr. Gilmour explained. "In addition, this is the right time for us to consider our students' need for additional on-campus housing. Our expanding enrollment and the great success of our student-housing program is a strong indication that we should expand to meet the strong demand of students and parents for College-owned housing. We have every reason to believe that expansion is needed, as we have full occupancy in all our facilities and, consistently, our demand exceeds the number of available beds."

Dr. Gilmour announced the College will pay a total of $750,000 to complete the $3,468,464 HON gift/purchase transaction, making HON's gift value $2,718,464. "It's quite a gift," Board Chairman Dr. Robert E. Dunham said. The School of Transportation Technology's Collision Repair programs and the College's shipping and receiving operations are expected to move into the former HON facility by January, Dr. Gilmour told the Board.

In other business, the Board named two new members to the College's Corporate Advisory Board, replacing members who have resigned. The new members are David Livingston, president/owner of Plastics Development Co., Inc., and Vincent Matteo, president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.

Veronica M. Muzic, vice president for academic affairs and provost, announced that the College has hired Dr. Lawrence J. Fryda as dean of the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Fryda, who will begin his duties at Penn College in January, was selected after a nationwide search. He comes here after eight years at Central Michigan University, where he was chairperson and a professor in the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology. Previously, Fryda was an associate professor and sequence coordinator in the Industrial Technology Department at Illinois State University for nine years. He spent approximately 12 years teaching electronics at Central Community College, Hastings, Neb., and other institutions. Fryda succeeds Dr. Eric K. Albert, associate professor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing, who decided to return to his faculty position.

Robert M. Fisher III, vice president for business affairs, reported the College has once again received an unqualified clean audit opinion for its financial statements. Fisher said this marks the seventh consecutive year that auditors found no condition worthy of mention in a management letter. Fisher added the College has assets totaling $165 million and net assets of $74 million.

Dr. Gilmour thanked Board member Rep. Brett O. Feese for his efforts to secure an additional $500,000 in state grant funding for Penn College. The funds are earmarked for the purchase of instructional equipment, she added.

Larry L. Michael, associate dean for technology transfer, provided the Board with an update on the activities of the Technology Transfer Center over the past decade. The TTC, which started with just four employees in 1991, now employs 32 people. Michael noted revenues have risen from $140,000 in 1991 to $5.8 million in 2001. The TTC has trained a total of 46,065 clients over the past 10 years.