College Set to Begin Renovations at Klump Academic Center

Published 06.19.2003


The most historic building on the Pennsylvania College of Technology campus the Klump Academic Center soon will receive an exterior facelift and extensive interior renovations that will expand available classroom and instructional space.

Built in 1913 as the Williamsport High School, the facility housed the area's first adult vocational-training programs, which became the basis for the founding of Williamsport Technical Institute and Williamsport Area Community College forerunners of Penn College. When a newly constructed high school was opened in 1970, the building became a cornerstone of the College campus.

The Penn College Board of Directors has authorized the College administration to accept bids and award construction contracts for the building's renovation. Contractors' bids for the project are due by July 15.

The renovation is expected to take two years to complete. The building will be at least partially occupied throughout the process.

"We beg the indulgence of students, faculty and staff as we complete these long-awaited renovations to the Academic Center," said Penn College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour. "The temporary inconvenience caused by construction will be more than offset by the gratifying outcome: a truly modern educational facility housed within a structure that has played such a significant role in the community's history."

The project is part of a 30-year, $31.6 million bond issue approved by the Board of Directors in February 2002. Also financed by the bond issue were two projects set to open this fall: the construction of the 365-bed Rose Street Apartments, an on-campus student-housing complex, and the renovation of the former HON Industries Inc. manufacturing plant, which will become an instructional facility known as College Avenue Labs.

Much of the work on the Academic Center will involve converting former offices moved to the new Student and Administrative Services Center in January to classrooms and faculty offices. Student work areas will be provided adjacent to faculty offices, and seminar and small-group study areas will be added.

The front entrance, including front steps, masonry and paving, as well as the first- and second-floor lobbies, will be renovated. Exterior bricks and stone surfaces will be cleaned. The grounds around the building will receive new exterior lighting and additional landscaping.

In addition, the four-story building will be made to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. New fire-alarm and fire-suppression/sprinkler systems will be installed, and the entire structure will be upgraded to meet existing building codes. An existing elevator will be replaced and a second one installed, requiring the closing in of an outdoor courtyard.

New plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems will be installed, and restrooms will be replaced. New ceilings and "floating" walls (stud walls placed in front of existing walls as a less-costly alternative to demolition and replacement) will be added. The interior will receive fresh paint and new carpeting. A dining unit within the building (the International Cafe will be expanded.

One aspect of the building that won't change much in appearance is the auditorium, which had been renovated in the mid-1980s, though it will receive improved lighting.

Serving as architect for the project will be Murray Associates Architects, the firm that also designed the Student and Administrative Services Center, the Rose Street Apartments, College Avenue Labs and the College's main entrance.

The College president expressed to the Board an enthusiasm for this project to enhance the 90-year-old structure.

"While our recent new construction projects have been very exciting, we truly look forward to this project to enhance our oldest and for many, most loved building on campus. The project brings a host of challenges and opportunities for growth, but perhaps most importantly, it preserves a piece of our history by making it a viable part of the future of our campus," Dr. Gilmour said.