Committee endorses Abington renovation plans

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Final plans to renovate the Woodland Building on the Penn State Abington campus were approved by the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning today (Nov. 21). The committee voted to recommend the plans, and the awarding of contracts for construction of the $7 million project, to the full board to approve at its meeting on Friday (Nov. 22).

Designed by the firm of Spillman Farmer of Bethlehem, Pa., the plan will update approximately 15,000 gross square feet of laboratory, classroom, office and restroom space. The renovated laboratories and adjacent areas will provide students and faculty with a more effective learning environment.

"I look forward to the renovations, which will support innovative teaching approaches," said Ann Schmiedekamp, division head for Science and Engineering at Abington.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems will be upgraded, and restroom renovations will improve accessibility. The project also includes new energy-efficient window systems as well as new flooring and a new roof over the laboratories.

The 92,000-square-foot, four-story Woodland Building, which was completed in 1973, is under increasing demand every year due to continuous enrollment growth. The existing laboratories need to be improved to keep up with demands for the latest technology.

"These important renovations will help us better accommodate our faculty's research, including their work with our flourishing undergraduate research program," said Abington Chancellor Karen Wiley Sandler.

The Woodland Building consists of two structures joined by a breezeway. It was completed in two phases in 1972 and 1973, and currently houses the library, as well as classrooms and spaces for the sciences, engineering and the arts. Students fill the Woodland Cafe each day to enjoy refreshments in between classes. Downstairs from the cafe, Woodland Commons is another gathering place for students to study or socialize adjacent to the campus art gallery. The building also boasts one of the most versatile multipurpose rooms on campus. With stadium-style seating and the latest technology, it accommodates almost 200 people for use as a traditional classroom, performance space or for public events.