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New Berks building approved by board of trustees

Penn State University's Board of Trustees approved the final plans for a new classroom/ laboratory building at the Berks campus at their meeting on Friday, January 22.

"The Berks campus has been experiencing growth, and that trend is expected to continue," Al Horvath, senior vice president for finance and business, told the University's Board of Trustees when introducing final plans for the new building.

The board approved the 62,000-square-foot building, which, in addition to classrooms and laboratory facilities, will include an Entrepreneurship Center, study areas for students, an enclosed café and offices for the faculty and administration.

"Penn State Berks stands at a critical juncture," states Susan Phillips Speece, Penn State Berks Chancellor. "We are poised to expand our service to the community, and the addition of instructional and office space will be instrumental in our future success."

The new building and the neighboring Thun Library and Franco Building will define important campus green space. Architectural firm RMJM Hillier designed the new facility's color and scale to complement the two existing campus buildings.

The $25.6 million building of terra cotta panel, precast concrete panels and glass will provide space for business, information sciences and technology, engineering and hotel, restaurant and institutional management. Work is scheduled for completion in spring 2012.
To see an artist's rendering, go to http://live.psu.edu/image/26339.

Horvath told trustees that plans include a covered main entrance leading into a central gathering space. The café will accommodate a retail area and a hotel, restaurant and institutional management lab, as well as a sitting area, which opens onto an outdoor patio. The first floor also will hold seven labs, three classrooms, a design studio and a lecture hall.

The second floor will house six labs, five classrooms and 28 faculty offices; four conference rooms, a classroom, 27 faculty areas and the chancellor's office round out the building plan on the third floor, Horvath said.

Walkways will link the building's main entrance with the two neighboring buildings and with campus parking lots.
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