Penn State Scranton Begins Library Construction

Penn State Scranton’s Library Building is undergoing a $13.1 million renovation that will dramatically change both the front and back facades of the structure and include technology and interior updates aimed at making the facility a premier learning environment.

Built in 1970, the Library Building also houses the campus’ nursing program labs and support spaces on the first floor, as well as faculty offices, and library spaces on the second floor.  

The existing nursing facilities were designed for what was then a two-year associate degree nursing program. Penn State Scranton now offers a four-year bachelor of science degree in nursing that requires patient simulation training and debriefing spaces, as well as additional learning spaces, for this growing program. 

The library currently serves anywhere from 250 to 400 students per day. In an average semester, students check out and use its textbook reserves over 1,000 times. It has not been significantly updated in over 50 years, and in its current state, is not capable of meeting all of the needs of the campus community. 

The renovation project will consolidate the nursing program into one area on campus and provide additional room for nursing faculty, teaching spaces and labs, including patient simulator labs. A new lower-level entrance will improve ADA accessibility to the building and increase the nursing program’s visibility on the campus. 

The library space will be transformed to make it suitable for the 21st-century student. Improvements include an increase of study rooms from two to five; a devoted quiet study space for students; an updated instruction classroom that allows for more interactive class time; numerous power outlets at convenient locations; and book stacks at heights and locations that allow for natural light. 

Overall, plans also call for: ADA compliant restrooms; improvements and additional space for the building mechanical systems, including the HVAC system, which will be improved in both areas for occupant comfort and energy efficiency; installation of LED lighting; a more accessible lobby area; a public elevator; the addition of a lactation room; and enhanced site connections to the campus’ walkways. 

“This renovation project will help grow enrollment in the nursing program, thus graduating more nurses from Penn State to help address the shortage of nurses currently being experienced in northeast Pennsylvania,” Penn State Scranton Chancellor Marwan Wafa said. “The library project will provide a comfortable and encouraging space for our students to study and improve access to all the resources of Penn State’s library system, helping our students to succeed academically.” 

Penn State Scranton Nursing Program Coordinator Justina Malinak said her department is looking forward to the facility improvements, which will help further future growth and development in the program and equip campus nursing graduates for the evolving healthcare environment. 

“While the library always has provided, and will continue to provide, stellar services to the Penn State campus community, this newly renovated space will help to draw students to the campus and provide current students with a more comfortable and safe space to study,” said Jennie Knies, head librarian of the Scranton campus and Nesbitt Libraries and co-director of the Commonwealth Campus Libraries. 

Construction is expected to be complete in January 2024. In the interim, the nursing department has moved its simulator labs and faculty to the campus’ Gallagher Conference Center and the Library is operating out of space on the ground floor of the Dawson Building.

A $13.1 million renovation project will update the Classroom-Library Building at Penn State Scranton to consolidate the nursing program into one area on campus, and provide additional room for nursing faculty, teaching spaces and labs, including patient simulator labs, among other improvements. 
Credit: Penn State