Gateway Center about to put a new shine on Lycoming College, city

If physical improvements can enhance a college’s relationship to its city — we think they can — then Lycoming College’s marriage with Williamsport is about to get closer than ever.

The college’s new Krapf Gateway Center at the corner of Franklin and East Fourth streets is about 75 percent complete as the new school year looms and already is making an impression with its rounded frontage and tall, open entrance.

The center will serve as the first impression of Lycoming College, as it will house four departments — admissions, outdoor leadership and education, a center for enhanced academic experience and alumni and advancement.

Up until now, the college did not appear to have a central entrance. That is about to change dramatically. Motorists will be coming north to the official entrance to Lycoming College from Interstate 180 or from Third Street onto Basin Street and through new gates fronting the Krapf Gateway Center.

And with Third, Basin and Franklin streets all getting infrastructure improvements, realignment and widening, the entrance will be striking. The change will be every bit as dramatic as the change in entrances several years ago to the UPMC/Susquehanna Medical Center from Rural Avenue to Walnut Street.

When the cherry pickers, cranes, backhoes and pavement trucks are gone, what will be left is a spectacular entrance to Lycoming College that will better tie the school to the city of Williamsport.

It will be a look that matches the prominence of the school as one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges.

And it will be the first big step — after years of planning and false starts — in the revitalization of the southeastern portion of Williamsport.

Exciting times, indeed.