October 06, 2011

Rendering of Academic West

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By Molly O'Brien-Foelsch

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell University Board of Trustees has approved the construction of Academic West, a new facility to house 70,000 square feet of classrooms, offices, laboratories and meeting areas. The building, which the University expects to complete in 2013, will form the west side of a new quad extending south from Bertrand Library.

"This is a major step forward in the excellence of this great campus," said Bucknell's president, John Bravman. "In recent years, Bucknell has added dozens of faculty members to achieve the five-course teaching load and reduce the student-faculty ratio, creating more time for faculty-student interaction around scholarship, research and mentoring. Academic West is a critical step in supporting these goals."

Bucknell is constructing Academic West as part of the Campus Master Plan initiated in 2007, which serves as a blueprint for future campus buildings and green spaces. Moving faculty in the social sciences to the new facility will create a domino effect on campus, freeing up offices and classrooms for other academic programs.

Preparing for the future
"Everything we are putting in the ground now is preparing Bucknell for the future," said Dennis Hawley '72, associate vice president for facilities.

The three-story building will contain 59 faculty offices, along with large and medium-sized classrooms, laboratories and hearth space for faculty and students to gather outside of class time. It will be LEED certified at a silver level, meeting strict standards for energy efficiency and environmental impact and stewardship.

"An important way to prepare for the future is to make sure that we are environmentally responsible," said Hawley, who is also the chair of the Campus Greening Council.

In fall 2010, the University began investing $17 million in the infrastructure for the new quad, establishing utility distribution systems, such as steam, fire protection, water lines, electric and internet lines, roads, walks and parking lots, plus essentials for any new construction. Two existing fraternity houses are being demolished to make way for the new project, and two new affinity houses are already under construction as homes for those fraternities. The work on the 50-acre site is the largest facilities project in Bucknell history. || Photo gallery

Construction costs nearly covered
Pledges and gift revenues have accounted for almost $22 million in private donations to cover the estimated $24 million cost of construction. Major donors include Trustee Emeritus Robert C. Rooke, trustees William Morrow '70 and Steve Holmes '79, who is chair of the comprehensive campaign and parent of three Bucknell children. Bucknell continues to raise funds for the facility and will begin seeking construction bids in early 2012.

Other proposed structures for the area south of the library include Academic East, a 60,000-square-foot facility facing Academic West; residence halls; a student commons and an arts building.

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