Project Details and Timetable

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Project Information:

In spring, 2019, President Barron approved the project to build a new building for the social sciences, called the Liberal Arts Research and Teaching Building (LART). The building will be around 134,000 square foot at a budgeted cost of $113 million. Funds will come largely from the Commonwealth. 

LART will be a hub for many of the college’s social science units, housing the departments of anthropology, political science, and sociology and criminology, the schools of public policy and international affairs (currently part of the Penn State Law and School of International Affairs unit), the Population Research Institute, the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, and the Criminal Justice Research Center. The proximity of these units will allow for some administrative and student services space sharing and increased collaborations. 

The plan calls for an architectural firm to be hired in July 2019, programming and design to take about two years, and construction another two years. (See projected timetable below). Thus, we are planning a move-in date for the building fall, 2023. Once faculty, students, and staff have moved out of Oswald Tower, it will be demolished.

The LART site, between Park Avenue and Fisher Road, and between Mateer and Ford building, offers both opportunities and challenges. It will allow for an impressively designed building to anchor this edge of campus and to highlight the college’s social science strengths. At the same time, we will not want a huge building creating a canyon as it faces Moore building or overpowering the Borough neighborhood it borders on Park Avenue (as has happened with Hammond building on College Avenue.) For that reason, Borough zoning regulations mandate a 20-foot height restriction along Park Avenue, which we will have to abide by (or perhaps seek a minor exception).

We will be updating the web site as we move through the different stages of the project.

The future of the buildings our LART units currently occupy:

Carpenter, currently home of anthropology,  is scheduled for a major renovation. We expect most of its future use will be by Liberal Arts departments, but classrooms may also be part of the renovated Carpenter.

Oswald, currently home of sociology, criminology, the Criminal Justice Research Center, and the Population Research Institute will be demolished. The future of that rather small site is likely to be a green area between Pond and Burrowes.

Pond, currently home of political science, public policy, the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, and other units that will not be moving to LART,  will remain a college building for use by Liberal Arts departments.

Katz, currently occupied by Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs, will be wholly occupied by Penn State Law.

Projected schedule:

April-June 2019  A committee of College and Office of Physical Plant (OPP) representatives reviews bids from architectural firms and makes  recommendations to Board of Trustees.

July 2019, Board of Trustees reviews recommendations and approves the hiring of an architect.

Fall 2019-July 2021  Architects work with college leaders, faculty, and staff, and OPP leaders to program and design building.

July 2021  Board of Trustees reviews plans and authorizes construction.

Fall semester 2023  Move in date.

Fall semester 2023  Demolition of Oswald Tower.

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