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Gateway Center to tie college to community it calls home

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette The Krapf Gateway Center at Lycoming College.

As it nears completion, with about 75 percent of the work done, the Krapf Gateway Center marks the proposed entrance to Lycoming College and bridges the community to the historic institution.

When completed, four departments are set to be housed in the new facility — outdoor leadership and education, admissions, a center for enhanced academic experiences and alumni and advancement.

“All of them are externally, outward focused in terms of program and student involvement and connective tissue to the community,” according to Chip Edmonds, executive vice president at the college.

The project also includes the construction of gates, which will mark the entrance. The new gates are just about complete, said Edmonds, and work on Franklin Street — which will be aligned with a new, widened Basin Street — also is progressing.

To enter through the new official entrance to the college, visitors will now come north from I-180 or Third Street onto Basin Street and through the gates.

One of the motivations behind the new construction was tying in the relationship between the college and the city.

“Often you get comfortable with your campus and the way that it functions,” Edmonds said, “but sometimes you get a new, fresh look.”

He noted that when the college’s president, Dr. Kent Trachte, came on board in 2013, the college conducted new strategic planning.

“One of the big components of that was what we called ‘college as citizen.’ It was one of the working groups. How do we as an institution connect to the city and how does our campus present to our surroundings?” Edmonds said.

“We also noted that the college’s main entrance used to be from Fourth Street right in this main area. Old Main sat almost where this building (the Krapf Center) sits. The front of that building looked down on what is the most historical part of the city,” he said. Visually, the new building is designed to blend in with the historical buildings on campus,

He added that the college saw an opportunity to “live in that historic orientation of campus and to rebuild and strengthen both our connection to the city and our community” and offer “a much better welcome and first arrival point for new students and prospective families.”

Another way students will be able to connect with the community because of the new facility is through a bike shop, which will be located there.

“Students will have access to bikes to use and to jump right onto the River Walk. (It’s) another way to connect to the natural resources and outdoor activities that exist here in town,” Edmonds said.

He noted that, over the summer, the college also made enhancements and renovations to the primary academic center and the biochemistry suite.

In total, the three projects cost between $17 and $18 million. All of the classrooms and study rooms have been done in the academic center. A new biochemistry suite was built in the Heim Science Building for a new major in biochemistry, Edmonds said.

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