IUP Breaks Ground for New Humanities Building

Posted on 11/3/2013 11:06:28 PM

Indiana University of Pennsylvania broke ground today for a new $30-million academic building to house seven departments in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The building will be located next to Stapleton Library, on the lawn that now exists between Clark and Sutton halls. It will house the departments of English, journalism, political science, history, philosophy, religious studies and geography and regional planning.

IUP President Dr. Michael Driscoll noted during the ceremony that the new facility will help students to engage in open-ended scholarship and hands-on learning experiences.

“This new building is at the right time and right place,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said. “Its technological capabilities and open spaces for informal collaboration are a perfect match for our visionary goals.”

The ceremony also included remarks from Dr. Timothy Moerland, IUP provost and vice president for academic affairs; Susan Delaney, Council of Trustees chairperson; state Rep. David Reed, a 2000 graduate of IUP and a member of the IUP Alumni Association Board of Directors; Josh Acosta, a biology/pre-med major from Seward who serves as president of the Student Philanthropy Council; Dr. Yaw Asamoah, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Dr. Stuart Chandler, professor of religious studies and director of IUP’s Asian studies program.

Acosta, who is president of the Senior Class Gift Committee, announced during the groundbreaking event that more than $5,000 has been donated as the Senior Class Gift, and the funds have been designated for the new building’s lobby space and furnishings.

“As the dean, I think of my college as the heart and soul of the university’s academic experience,” Asamoah said. “Every student, regardless of major, passes through our classrooms. I am grateful to be able to bring our faculty and students closer together and to have the learning space we need to do the very best we can to provide the foundation to the undergraduate education experience.”

In addition to 31 classrooms (supporting 1,835 seats) and 120 offices, the 126,505-square-foot building will include a 250-seat auditorium, a great hall, an atrium and coffee shop, eight conference rooms, two collaborative classrooms, a public artifacts room, specialty classrooms and labs, and a rooftop plaza for academic and social space, including meteorological experimentation by the geography and regional planning department.

Some of the specific plans for the building include a media room for the English department’s film studies track; three lab settings for the journalism department, including an open lab, a teaching lab and a lab for the Digital Media Institute; a public history artifact room, especially designed for Master of Arts in history students; and a regional planning studio that reflects IUP’s geography and regional planning department’s specialized accreditation. IUP’s program joins only 13 other undergraduate programs in the United States in having this national accreditation.

The basic construction of the building will be funded by Pennsylvania’s Department of General Services. It will take approximately 25 months to complete.

Currently, the departments that will move to the new building are in McElhaney, Keith, Leonard, Davis and Sutton halls. The new building, once complete, will replace the classrooms and offices of those departments currently in Keith and Leonard halls. Keith and Leonard will be razed as part of the university’s long-range campus master plan to make space for  a new science building and dining facility.

To maintain a safe construction area, the footprint of the building, between Clark and Sutton halls and facing Grant Street, will be fenced starting Nov. 4.

The fencing will mean that access to Sutton Hall will be from the Oak Grove and East Porch entrances only, as Grant Street will be closed from 11th Street to Pratt Drive. A portion of the Clark Hall parking lot will be closed, as will South Drive from 11th Street to the Sutton circle. Several handicapped parking spots will be located in the Sutton circle on a temporary basis.

South Drive will be open to two-way traffic from Pratt Drive to the circle, and deliveries to Sutton Hall will be routed to the Oak Grove entrance. Reserved parking and the handicapped parking along South Drive has been moved to the parking garage. 

Detour signs have been placed around campus to help pedestrians and drivers get to their destinations. Those coming from the south and west sides of campus, including from the parking garage, will be routed past the library to the sidewalk between the IUP Libraries and Fisher Auditorium to get to Sutton Hall and buildings in and around the Oak Grove and on the north side of campus.

Updates and changes to parking, traffic, and construction will be posted on the Engineering and Construction news feed.

Watch the progress on a live web cam and find out more about the project.