Pennsylvania State University will break ground in August of 2022 on the $128 million Susan Welch Liberal Arts Building on the University Park campus. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the 143,000-sf social sciences facility will provide interactive learning venues, teaching and research laboratories, general purpose classrooms, faculty offices, a museum, and informal interaction areas. Collocating the departments of anthropology, political science, and sociology and criminology, the collaborative structure will also house the School of Public Policy and the School of International Affairs.
Featuring a robust ventilation system that supplies 100 percent outside air to the classrooms, labs, and the museum, the innovative building will include automatic doors and non-contact toilet entrances and plumbing fixtures to optimize occupant health in the post-pandemic era. High efficiency aluminum window and curtainwall systems will transmit natural light to interior spaces. With a roof designed to accommodate solar panels in the future, the LEED-certified facility will also take advantage of the university’s new water reuse system, enabling the capture of stormwater runoff in an underground detention center. The project will enable the university to demolish Oswald Tower, which has a $14.9 million maintenance backlog, as well as accelerating the renewal or replacement of the Carpenter Building. Occupancy is expected in fall of 2024.