LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, hosted the dedication of the newly renovated Engineering and Arts Suite on the third floor of the Eberly Building on Thursday, Nov.16.
Planning for the $480,000 project, funded by Capital Renewal, finished in January. Renovations began in May of this year and were completed just before the fall semester of 2017. William S. Pope, principal designer at Next Architecture, contributed designs, and Jendoco Construction executed the renovations.
“Penn State Fayette allowed us to take a holistic approach to the renovations,” said Pope. “The suite makes a statement to the public of a re-emphasis on the engineering, technology and art departments on campus. The new space serves as a marketing tool in and of itself.”
The Engineering and Arts Suite houses four traditional classrooms, one computer lab outfitted with 24 receding monitors for multi-use workspaces, one arts classroom, and two Electrical Engineering Technology labs built to simulate industrial environments.
The floor also features a dedicated lab to house six Ultimaker 3-D printers. Associate Teaching Professor of Engineering Nathaniel Bohna acquired the technology through multiple grants to bolster the engineering program. The printers are available to all departments for a variety of educational applications.
The suite encourages cross-disciplinary interaction to the advantage of both departments. 3-D printers can be used to fabricate engineering prototypes or art sketches, says Bohna, adding that “the printers unite the two disciplines.” Bohna currently teaches an art class that utilizes the printers for production.
The space is designed to allow ample natural light and an open, collaborative atmosphere. The two disciplines are represented conceptually in the design — an octagonal art fixture is displayed on the hallway wall, while wavy ceiling fixtures hang overhead. Exposed beams contribute to the industrial feel. Students have responded enthusiastically to the campus addition, gathering in the suite for group projects and independent studies.
“The Engineering and Arts Suite fortifies not only these departments, but our campus and our region at large,” said Charles Patrick, chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State Fayette. As a professor of engineering, Patrick was instrumental in the renovation initiative. “This state-of-the-art space and world-class technology represent the innovation and energy at Penn State and in Fayette County," he said.