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Committee recommends plans for Beaver Community Center project at Berks campus

by Penn State Berks

Feb 25, 2020

Photo: The Board of Trustees will consider a proposal to modernize and expand the Beaver Community Center at Penn State Berks. Originally built in 1980, the facility houses the Berks kinesiology program, including faculty and staff offices.

$30.4 million proposal calls for expanding, renovating 40-year-old facility

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Final plans for the expansion and renovation of the Beaver Community Center on the Penn State Berks campus were approved today (Feb. 20) by the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning. The work, expected to modernize and increase the size of the multi-use facility, will enhance teaching, learning and co-curricular space on campus. 

The proposed project plans, submitted by Atkin Olshin Schade Architects of Philadelphia, the lead architectural firm on the project, will be presented to the full board for its consideration on Feb. 21.

The expanded and renovated Beaver Community Center will encompass 76,800 square feet, and the project is estimated to cost $30.4 million. It will address maintenance needs, space limitations and provide support to current and future programs, particularly within the bachelor’s of science degree program in kinesiology — which is the second highest enrolled major at Penn State Berks. 

Building infrastructure systems, including site utilities, will be repaired and, per the campus master plan, the Beaver Community Center will be connected to the Perkins Student Center. 

“The Beaver project will truly be transformative for Penn State Berks and the new square footage will more than double the current space. The expansion and renovation is anticipated to provide outstanding academic, athletic and research space for students, faculty and staff,” said campus Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk. 

The Beaver Community Center opened its doors in 1980. The facility houses the kinesiology degree program, including faculty and staff offices. It also supports NCAA Division III athletics, intramural programs, physical activity courses, and other recreational activities and events. 

The center is named for the late Howard O. “Mike” Beaver Jr., who graduated from Penn State with a bachelor of science degree in metallurgy, and went on to serve as president and CEO of Carpenter Technology in Reading, Pennsylvania. Beaver chaired the Berks Campus Capital Campaign, which raised funds for the construction of the Community Center. The facility was supported entirely by private contributions. 

Atkin Olshin Schade Architects was approved as the lead architectural firm by the Board of Trustees in September 2018. They are partnering with Hastings & Chivetta Architects of St. Louis, Missouri, on the project.

In addition to the $23.3 million from Penn State’s capital plan funds, the Berks student body has committed $5 million from its Student Initiated Fee toward the project. The balance will be funded by Housing and Food Services, the University Access Committee and Berks campus. 

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