The Lycoming College Board of Trustees Saturday announced an historic transformation of its southeastern edge of campus to create a new gateway to the College and to undertake a major step toward revitalizing the east end of Williamsport.
The project will include both a new $12.5 million gateway building and sitework, which will be complemented by a $1.6 million reconstruction of Basin and Franklin Streets by the City of Williamsport funded through public and private grant support. An additional $5.5 million in public infrastructure projects will provide the foundation to attract millions in private investment to the area, supporting the College’s larger vision of creating a lively college-town feel in the East End of Williamsport.
Partnerships with a number of organizations played a critical role in bringing this project to fruition, including the City of Williamsport, River Valley Transit, First Community Foundation Partnership, Lycoming County, East Third Street Commission, PennDot, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition, local elected officials, specifically, State Senator Gene Yaw, were instrumental in securing a $2 million RACP grant to the College; further, Yaw and Representative Jeff Wheeland successfully advocated for almost $3 million in state grant support for the larger revitalization project.
“I am exceedingly grateful for the board’s enthusiastic support for the Gateway Project, which will transform the campus. I also want to acknowledge our partnerships in the community, whose commitments to this project have been essential,” said Kent C. Trachte, Ph.D., president of Lycoming College. “We are excited and confident that this project will leverage even greater support for the revitalization of this part of the city of Williamsport.”
The new gateway building will breathe life back into Williamsport’s Old City neighborhood, deepening the connections between the College and the City. Streets will be reconfigured to create pathways to downtown, as well as to the city’s beautiful Susquehanna River Walk, making it safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.
Expected to serve as a hub of student activity, the new 28,000-square-foot facility will house College admissions and alumni relations, the Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences, and Outdoor Leadership and Education, as well as presentation and seminar rooms, study rooms, a café, and a climbing wall in the three-story atrium, which also features lounge space with a fireplace. An outdoor plaza will open to the College’s upper quad area, granting easy access to academic building and Lamade Gymnasium.
“I applaud the extraordinary work by the College’s administration and the many partners who have helped to make this transformative project a reality,” said Stanley Sloter ’80, chair of the board of trustees and president of Paradigm Companies. “We are incredibly excited about what this means to the Lycoming College community and the city of Williamsport.”
“The Lycoming College Gateway project is exciting, not only for the commercial, cultural and residential development opportunities, but it has the potential to help revitalize the Old City and East Third Street corridor, while reconnecting with the downtown,” said Yaw. “A public private partnership like this stands to have a lasting impact on Lycoming College and our community, as well as our local economy, well into the future. It will be a game changer for the city and will serve as a springboard for the College to transform into one of the nation’s top liberal arts institutions.”
“It has been a pleasure working with Dr. Trachte and Lycoming College as physical changes to the eastern side of Market Street commence with new construction,” said Gabriel J. Campana, mayor of Williamsport. “Our joint plan to revitalize another area of our great city, like we did with the $100 million William Street Project, is coming fruition. We will continue to work hard to enhance the Old City with a public/private partnership that is a win/win for our community.”
“The East End commission identified this as the priority project that would catalyze the larger vision for this area of the city,” said Al Clapps, principal at Gentry Development. “I am most pleased that the College’s board of trustees has taken this major step to advance its gateway building that will in turn draw significant private investment to the area.”
“The Gateway Building is a key component of the Campaign for a Greater Lycoming, which endeavors to create a 21st-century liberal arts and sciences education,” said Chip Edmonds ’98, executive vice president of advancement at Lycoming College. “To date, we have received broad and deep support from alumni and friends totaling more than $8 million in private donations and grants toward our $65 million campaign goal.”
Ground breaking is slated for this summer.