April 02, 2012

From left to right: SBDC Director Steven Stumbris, Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner, Bucknell President John Bravman, Samek Art Gallery Director Richard Rinehart.

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By Andy Hirsch

LEWISBURG, Pa. — With the cut of the orange and blue ribbon that was stretched in front of the recently renovated DeWitt Building, Bucknell capped its latest venture into downtown Lewisburg — building upon the already strong relationship between the University and the borough.

"The completion of the DeWitt Building is very special. I think this marks a true turning point in our local history," Bucknell President John Bravman told a crowd of more than 80 people who were invited to the dedication. "This serves as a perfect example of how a wonderful town and great university can work together."

Visitors will find Bucknell's Small Business Development Center on the building's third floor. The second floor is occupied by the new Bucknell University Entrepreneurs Incubator. And a large street-level window welcomes community members to the new Downtown Art Gallery, located on the ground floor.

The artists exhibited in the Downtown Art Gallery will differ from those in Bucknell's Samek Art Gallery, explained Richard Rinehart, director of the Samek.

"We will be able to use the resources of Bucknell to look at some of the great contemporary art that's being done around the world, and bring it here to Lewisburg for everyone to enjoy," Rinehart said.

The dedication of the DeWitt Building marks the completion of the fourth major renovation project Bucknell has taken on in the downtown area. The University is transitioning more than 60 employees to the Federal Building, also on Market Street. After acquiring the facility from the United States Postal Service, Bucknell completely renovated the 82-year-old building and brought life back to the upper floors, which sat virtually empty for more than a decade. The post office on the ground floor remains in place, complete with a new ramp for handicapped-accessibility.

Directly across from the DeWitt Building sits the Campus Theatre, which re-opened last summer after its own multimillion dollar renovation. And less than two years ago Bucknell restored what was once the C. Dreisbach's Sons Hardware Store on the northwest corner of Fourth and Market streets, moving its bookstore from campus to what is now the Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University bookstore.

"I thank Bucknell for respecting the roots of Lewisburg and preserving our historic buildings while, at the same time, building a bridge from the University to this storied downtown," said Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner. "Bucknell has opened great opportunities for our established businesses as well as for new businesses that wish to locate here. I can already feel renewed vibrancy as I walk down Market Street."

"It is truly remarkable, the transformations that have been brought about in all four of these buildings," Bravman said. "I think we've seen an important rebirth in the relationship between Bucknell and the Borough of Lewisburg."

Contact: Division of Communications