New programming and student experiential learning opportunities in progress
Alvernia received $2M from the City of Reading to assist in the second phase of the renovation of the John R. Post Center at Reading CollegeTowne. The awarded funds are part of the $61M the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that the City of Reading was awarded in 2021.
“We are incredibly grateful for Mayor Eddie Moran and the City of Reading City Council’s support of the second phase of Reading CollegeTowne as Alvernia continues to work with our many community partners to lead the advancement in educational and technical workforce development for our region,” said Alvernia President John R. Loyack. “We look forward to continue enriching our students’ educational journeys and reshaping the future of Reading with the help of this funding.”
Phase two of Reading CollegeTowne includes the addition of a Master of Medical Science in Physician Associate Studies program, additional engineering tracks, expansion of downtown housing, a refresh of the nursing program and the addition of an interdisciplinary community clinic. The clinic will combine practices of students enrolled in healthcare-focused programs in the College of Health Sciences to provide hands-on experiential learning while serving Greater Reading.
“Four years ago, I promised that education would be at the forefront of my Administration’s priorities,” said Mayor Moran. “Education is invaluable in addressing poverty and enriching an individual’s personal and professional development. Last night, my Administration, with the support of City Council, fulfilled that promise by passing legislation that provides $2M in financial support to each of our City’s post-secondary institutes; RACC, Albright, and Alvernia.”
Alvernia was originally slated to receive $1M from the City of Reading’s APRA funds, but council members agreed to allocate $2M to the three higher education institutions in Reading at Monday’s City Council Meeting. In July of 2022, Alvernia also received $1M in ARPA funding from the County of Berks for nursing program expansion. The Moran Administration continues to identify areas to dedicate funding that will help the City in the long term, including in the areas of small businesses and City infrastructure. ARPA funding needs to be approved by City Council by the end of 2024, with all money spent by the end of 2026.
The university launched the CollegeTowne initiative in Reading in late 2019. Since its launch, Alvernia purchased a 240,000-square-foot living and learning facility at 401 Penn Street in downtown Reading, and completed the first phase of a $20 million renovation and retrofitting project. During that time the university has also assisted over 200 small businesses and entrepreneurs through the O’Pake Institute for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship’s Spark Business Incubator lab and has spurred six other development projects in vacant or abandoned buildings that has resulted in nearly 1,500,000 square feet of transformation in the downtown corridor.
The John R. Post Center at Reading CollegeTowne is the university’s largest single facility and features many collaborative student gathering spaces, high-tech general-purpose classrooms, an esports arena, student housing and interfaith prayer spaces, and is the home of BCTV, Community First Fund, La Mega Radio and the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters’ Mother Veronica Resource Center and the region’s largest Starbucks.