UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Construction of the new home for Penn State’s Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes is well underway and on schedule for a late-spring completion.
The estimated $7.2 million project, which is converting Greenberg Indoor Sports Complex into the new Morgan Academic Center, began in October. The more than 30,000-square-foot home of academic services and support will consolidate Morgan Academic Center’s services and staff into one physical location for 800 Penn State student-athletes for the first time.
The Morgan Academic Center is a vital component in keeping Penn State’s academic services and the academic performance of its approximately 800 student-athletes at the forefront among the nation’s premier Division I institutions. Tutoring, advising, computer labs, group study areas and meeting rooms are currently located in four separate locations on the University Park campus: East Area Locker Room, Lasch Football Building, Rec Hall and the Bank of America Career Services Building.
Designed by Hoffman Leakey Architects of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, the construction crew from PJ Dick of Pittsburgh gutted the features inside Greenberg to make room for the two-story academic services center located near the corner of Hastings Road and McKean Road on the University Park campus.
A small group of Penn State Athletics representatives recently toured the new center for an update on the construction progress. The most striking new addition is the first-floor reading and study area featuring an open floor plan with high ceilings and window fixtures stretching two stories on the McKean Road side of building. The ground floor of the new academic center will rest where the former ice surface existed in Greenberg for the Penn State Icers, and the Nittany Lion men’s and women’s varsity programs in 2012-13, before moving into the Pegula Ice Arena.
Among the numerous new features being constructed in the new Morgan Academic Center are: Staff offices for the student-athlete development and welfare unit, academic counselors, learning specialists and a sports psychologist; 15 collaborative learning rooms; small conference room; large conference room; classroom space; three large study rooms; two open reading rooms; traditional computer lab; student lounge; fueling station and displays of student-athlete academic recognition through the years.
The targeted construction completion of the new Morgan Academic Center is in late May, with a turnover targeted for mid-June. The academic center will be in full service for the student-athletes’ return to campus for the fall semester in August.
Penn State student-athletes have an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 88 percent, five points higher than the NCAA Division I average, and have earned 191 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America selections, the fourth-highest total among Division I programs. In 2014-15, Penn State student-athletes achieved the two highest semesters all-time for the number of students with at least a 3.0 grade-point average, with 500 during the fall semester and 474 in the spring. Additionally, a school record 241 student-athletes earned Dean’s List recognition for posting a 3.5 grade-point average or higher (with a minimum 12 credits) during the fall semester.