Central Penn College will embark on three construction projects this year — two renovations of buildings that are not currently in use on its main Summerdale campus, and a lab addition at its Lancaster Center.
According to Central Penn President Karen M. Scolforo, community feedback from a comment system she set up shortly after becoming president last year was instrumental in the selection of these projects. She said she has read every comment submitted.
"Your comments have inspired change," Scolforo said to students during a Jan. 15 town hall meeting. "These enhancements to student life and holistic student development are a direct result of your feedback. The student center, called the Underground, will provide you with support services and opportunities to develop the soft skills that employers seek. We want you to be prepared not only in your scholarly education, but also in your core values."
The Summerdale construction is slated to begin in March and be completed in July, according to the college. The nearly 4,000-square-foot student center will be on the lower level of The West Wing academic building, with students selecting the furniture, games and details throughout the construction process. The former child care center on Valley Road will undergo a complete renovation to become a health sciences building. Updates on the projects will be posted at www.centralpenn.edu/construction.
The college estimates the total project costs at $1.5 million for the Summerdale projects and just under $97,000 for the Lancaster one. Pyramid Construction Services Inc. will be doing the Summerdale work, and the college plans to use in-house labor and subcontractors for the Lancaster job, which involves renovation and reallocation of about 1,350 square feet of existing space.
The Underground will have a new writing center for students; Student Government Association offices; 250-seat multipurpose theater and a dance studio open to the community for select performances, gallery showings and classes; fitness center; student lounge; and staff offices. The health sciences building will include medical labs, classrooms, faculty offices, conference area, student lounge and a computer lab as well as wireless Internet access.
The Lancaster addition will allow Central Penn to extend its current successful physical therapist assistant associate degree program from Summerdale to Lancaster, with a maximum of 30 students to start in July 2014 and another 30 to start in January 2015. The program is designed for working adults and traditional-age students and will be offered through a mix of online and on-site evening courses at Central Penn Lancaster.
Central Penn says the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry projects a 21.4 percent employment growth in the PTA profession in Lancaster County from 2010 to 2020.