A perfect summer day set the backdrop for the groundbreaking for Penn State’s reimagined College of Engineering West Campus. Justin Schwartz, the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering, headed up the ceremony which was attended many members of the Penn State community including 24 trustees and State College mayor, Ron Filippelli. Payette team members Jeff DeGregorio, Leon Drachman and Jennifer Hardy attended the ceremony as well, where Jeff gave the following address. The future is looking bright!
Address by Jeff DeGregorio
Designing and building a new building takes time. Projects such as these take years upon years from the first identification of the key challenges by the College of Engineering, to a hunch about potential solutions, iterations are explored and finally consensus is built that change is required and the wheels start turning to get us to this day. We are fortunate to have been part of this process from the onset of the master plan where these buildings began to become a reality.
The Dean and the College of Engineering outlined a bold vision for the College’s expansion. The College of Engineering sought to re-engage engineering with the broader campus community and lead by redefining what is possible through multi-disciplinary research. The College also saw the potential for how Penn State could solve society’s most pressing problems and lead sustainable development through these new buildings. Penn State also saw key opportunities to enhance the existing campus fabric with buildings that will have a lasting legacy and fit into the strategic goals of the campus to reduce energy usage and be stewards to the climate. The elements of this shared vision are obviously harmonious with each other and served as the foundation for the exploration of ideas that immediately led to the potential of where we are standing today.
West 1 and West 2 are an ensemble together while also serving their own respective unique programmatic goals.
West 1 will become the new hub and heart of West Campus. The Commons provides a welcoming place where all students can gather, study, meet with faculty and collaborate together. New general-purpose classrooms and teaching labs provide students access to state-of-the-art spaces and a broad range of highly specialized equipment. Research labs support a multi-disciplinary approach that is necessary to solving the challenges of today and tomorrow.
West 2 provides a one of kind opportunity for students to gain hands on design learning from Cornerstone to Capstone of their engineering education. New shop facilities, a prototypical high bay laboratory, teaching space and studio space all combine to enable students to learn the design process through real world projects that culminates at the Learning Factory studio that looks back toward campus while at the same time providing a window into the engineering process and anchoring the west campus quad.
Sustainability was at the forefront of all decisions. Working as a team with Penn State, the College of Engineering and Whiting Turner, the buildings feature a wide range of strategies including timber flooring and curtain walls, ample amounts of natural daylight, high performance glazing and mechanical systems that will drive down energy usage.
We reached this moment through the tireless work of so many people. We, as the architects, engineers and builders are only one small piece of a massive team. Countless people from Penn State and the College of Engineering spent endless hours dedicated to making these buildings the best that they could be. They brought their vision and enthusiasm for how the spaces could enable research into the future, be beautifully designed and as sustainably driven as possible.
The amazing part of this dedication from everyone here at Penn State is that the effort was never about individual goals, but rather the collective potential the buildings have to serve multiple generations of students, faculty and research. These buildings will become part of the legacy of Penn State and the College of Engineering that will outlive us all.