New Construction

Penn State Approves Plans for New Liberal Arts Facility

The Board of Trustees at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Penn., recently approved final plans for the construction of a new, $127.7-million liberal arts building. The Susan Welch Liberal Arts Building, named in honor of a former dean of the College of Liberal Arts, will measure in at 143,000 square feet and is scheduled for completion in fall 2024.

A university news release reports that the facility will unite many of the college’s departments (including the School of Public Policy and the departments of Anthropology, Criminology, Political Science and Sociology, as well as the School of International Affairs) in one place. Once complete, the new structure will also play home to the Matson Museum of Anthropology, the Population Research Institute, the McCourtney Institute for Democracy and the Criminal Justice Research Center.

“Construction of the Susan Welch Liberal Arts Building is a fundamental component in our efforts to provide a transformative liberal arts education that prepares students for all walks of life, and to recruit and retain the nation’s foremost liberal arts scholars who continue to address the most pertinent social, political and cultural issues facing us today,” said Clarence Lang, Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. “I am grateful to the Board of Trustees for this investment that elevates Penn State’s stature as one of the leading public liberal arts institutions in the nation.”

The university partnered with architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, which designed the facility around constraints like zoning height restrictions and tree locations. The majority of the project’s $127.7-million budget comes from borrowing, capital reserves and state funding. The same project fund will also contribute to the demolition of the campus’s Oswald Tower, which currently houses some of the academic units moving to the new facility.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for August 12.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].