Penn State Lehigh Valley Proposes Building Acquisition and Relocation
Penn State Lehigh Valley announced today the planned purchase of a property located at 2809 East Saucon Valley Road in Center Valley, pending approval of the Board of Trustees. If approval is granted by the Penn State board at its meeting on March 20, the Lehigh Valley campus would relocate from its present location in Fogelsville to Center Valley. The Penn State Lehigh Valley Corporate Learning Center would continue to operate in its Bethlehem location.?
The property under discussion is 16 miles from the existing campus and currently serves as the site of Lehigh Valley College, which is closing this year. The site consists of a three-story, 97,285-square-foot-building and 870 parking spaces on 29 acres of land. Built in 2002, the new facility is 50,285 square feet larger than the existing Fogelsville campus building.
"Penn State Lehigh Valley has continued to see growth in enrollment since 2000 and, looking at the population projections for our service area, we expect that to continue," said Ann Williams, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley. "However, our current facility is at capacity and presents a number of limitations in its ability to meet the current and future needs of students. Purchasing the property in Center Valley is a viable solution."??
The Lehigh Valley is the third largest population area in Pennsylvania and, according to the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, the second fastest growth area in the Northeast with a projected population increase of 22 percent by 2030. In addition, the number of high school graduates in the area served by Penn State Lehigh Valley is expected to increase 16.5 percent between 2004 and 2016.??
The current Penn State Lehigh Valley campus in Fogelsville is at capacity. Despite the uncertain economic landscape, the purchase of the Center Valley facility would prove to be the most efficient use of resources to resolve some of the immediate concerns at the Lehigh Valley campus.??
"This is certainly a rare opportunity to more effectively serve the needs of the students in the Lehigh Valley. This purchase provides a more cost-effective solution than others we have previously explored," said Penn State President Graham Spanier. "It was important that we evaluated our priorities to be sure we were doing what is best for Penn State and its students."??
While an agreement for sale has been signed, the specific terms of the agreement are considered confidential until they are formally presented to the University’s Board of Trustees for consideration.??
Penn State Lehigh Valley proposes to relocate its operations as early as summer 2009. As part of the agreement, Lehigh Valley College would continue to occupy a portion of the building to serve its current students until its scheduled closure in December 2009. Once the transition is complete, the Fogelsville property will be sold.