Groundbreaking held for Abram Nesbitt, III Academic Commons
Penn State Wilkes-Barre held a groundbreaking on Friday, September 29, for the newest building on the 54-acre campus in Lehman, to be called the Abram Nesbitt, III Academic Commons.
The $8 million Commons will house a new library, lecture hall and classrooms while freeing up space for student services, said Charles Davis, campus chancellor. "The new library replaces the undersized facilities of the existing Nesbitt Library, which will in turn be renovated for student services, currently located in Hayfield House."
The new 21,200-square-foot building will be centrally located between the Nesbitt Library and Hayfield House. The front entrance of the building, adjacent to Hayfield House, will provide direct access to a glass-enclosed reception area and a 100-seat lecture hall, with an elevator and stairs leading to the first and second floors. The entrance adjacent to the Nesbitt Library will provide direct access to four 40-to-60-seat classrooms.
The first floor will include an art gallery, office, and café with access to an outdoor terrace. The 7,600-square-foot library will be located on the second floor with a circulation desk, information stations, stacks and a variety of research, study and gathering spaces, as well as two offices, a computer room and four group study rooms. Plans for the building, designed by Bohlin Cwynski Jackson of Wilkes-Barre, call for an exterior of predominantly natural stone selected to match Hayfield House, along with accents of metal and glass.
Among those speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony were chancellor Charles Davis, State Senator Charles Lemmond, campaign chair William Davidowitz, honorary chair Robert Fortinsky, advisory board chair Anna Cervenak, Penn State University development officer Dale DiSanto, and student government association president Dan Migliori.
There was strong university, alumni, community and campus support for the two-year capital campaign that raised funds for the construction.
Penn State Wilkes-Barre has over 800 students enrolled, with a student to faculty ratio of 12.7 to 1. Students can start most of the University's 160+ majors and finish at another Penn State campus including University Park. Eight baccalaureate or six associate degrees can be completed entirely at the campus.
View a photo gallery of the groundbreaking ceremony.