LOCK HAVEN - Bids for a new Lock Haven University Science Center project were received Jan. 11 and came in a little lower than anticipated, the Council of Trustees learned Thursday.
Demolition of the former Lock Haven Senior High School should start in April or May, with construction of the center to follow.
A $40.5 million concept, the center will provide much-needed classroom and lab space for science courses, including a cutting-edge laboratory for nanotechnology, all in one facility, officials said.
Also at the East Campus, food service facilities for the gym building are being designed and may be installed before the end of 2012.
Just across West Church Street from the new Science Center's location, and just across an alley from Evergreen Commons student housing, is the Beth Yehuda Synagogue. The building may soon become part of the campus that flanks it front and rear.
The congregation is offering it as a gift to the LHU Foundation so it can be used as an interfaith chapel for the university. The congregation would continue to worship there, and the Foundation would be able to lease space to a local church as well. The building may be renamed the Beth Yehuda Spiritual Center.
McGhee Elementary School on West Fourth Street also may become part of campus in the near future. Keystone Central School District has agreed to sell the property to the Foundation as soon as a legal issue with the deed is cleared.
A mammoth construction project is taking place above East Campus, on North Fairview Street. Owned by the LHU Foundation, the new student housing project should offer suites for 686 students beginning this August.
Although the suites will cost more - $7,440 per school year for two students in one bedroom and $8,280 for a two-bedroom suite - the university's 2011 "Quality of Life" survey showed high student response to the idea of living there.
Two months ago, 1,376 of the 1,730 students living in residence halls filled out the survey, and 36 percent said they want to live in Fairview Suites next year. That was the highest response, followed by 34 percent who stated they want to live off campus, 20 percent who want to stay with the traditional halls and 10 percent who want an apartment in Campus Village. Evergreen Commons evidently was not listed on the survey.
Dr. Linda D. Koch, vice president of student affairs, presented the survey.
She also showed photos of Fairview Suites which are going up above "the great wall of LHU," as she referred to the retaining wall built on the 45-degree incline that stretches up from the Railroad Street parking lot to the back of the new building.
The trustees visited a mock-up of a suite which can be seen inside Woolridge Residence Hall. The trustees the Brian Keefer Recreation Room, which was designed to meet Keefer's mobility needs and was created via the ABC TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
The Fairview Suites' amenities will include air-conditioning, Koch said, and will give students the added responsibility of keeping their own bathrooms clean.
The suites also offer more community space than traditional dorms. Students will pay more to live there than if those spaces were used as bedrooms, Koch said, but students also need to interact.
"Some will be first-year students," she said. "They need to have places where they can get together, study together, do things together. And hopefully students who live there will want to go on living there."
William T. Hanelly, vice president of finance and administration, presented the university's capital budget. On the wish list, in order of priority, are:
n A $3.7 million project to replace and enhance the fiber optic infrastructure on campus and replace IBM data cable in all buildings.
n An $8.1 million project to expand and upgrade old electrical equipment throughout campus.
n An $8.6 million project to renovate Ulmer Hall South into a general classroom and office building, after science classes move from Ulmer into the new Science Center.
n An $18.8 million project to renovate Zimmerli Building. This project was first submitted in 2002 when it would have cost about $3 million less to accomplish.
n An $8.4 million project to renovate Raub Hall, a project that was first submitted in 2000 with a price tag of about $3.4 million less.
n An $11 million project to renovate Russell Hall, which dates from 1950, into offices and meeting rooms. Russell Hall is a former dorm that is not completely handicapped accessible, has no air conditioning, has outdated windows, has electrical service that is in poor condition, and needs a new roof. Once renovated, it would house offices from Sullivan Hall and the annex, both of which would be demolished. (Some offices now at the annex would move into Ulmer South.)
The trustees approved the capital budget and sent it to the office of the chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
Hanelly noted that Gov. Tom Corbett has cut state funding for capital projects by 50 percent, reducing the pot for all 14 PaSSHE universities to only $65 million.
Webcam of student housing project: