L.R. Costanzo Co. Inc. Completes Project at Johnson College

Johnson College has once again teamed up with its long-standing partner, L.R. Costanzo Co. Inc., to erect its latest northeastern Pennsylvania masterpiece: Johnson College’s Ideal Saldi Hall.

This new building, serving as a dramatic gateway to all who enter the 44 acre campus, not only welcomes visitors and students, but also stands as a symbol of Johnson College’s innovative spirit.

Ideal Saldi Hall houses state-of-the-art classrooms; student areas; computer labs; the Biomedical Equipment Technology program; administrative offices; including Financial Aid, Admissions, Advising, President’s Office; and the “Hallway of Industry.” 

Spanning two stories, this extraordinary structure features an expansive second floor with a floating, cantilevered classroom above a student gathering area.  This impressive edifice overlooks the school’s beautifully landscaped greenspace and alumni garden.

A first of its kind on the campus, this building allows for intuitive learning and teaching by featuring a type of “live laboratory” for students.  Johnson College requested design features that leave most of the interior building envelope exposed, in order to foster real-world learning.  This includes uncovered ceilings, observable structural steel, visible ductwork, and wide open spaces, allowing teachers to bring their classrooms to life by encouraging students to experience, firsthand, what they are learning.

“The partnership between Johnson College and L.R. Costanzo began years ago and goes beyond the construction of campus buildings,” said Dr. Katie Leonard, President & CEO of Johnson College. “Everyone at L. R. Costanzo, including many of our alums, participate in our Professional Advisory Committees and career fairs, interact with our students during their classes and labs, and students frequently visit their construction sites through internships and in-industry tours. Our collaboration shows what it means when we say industry is our students’ campus.”   

Bringing Real Life Experience to Students

Another unique aspect of this remarkable project has been student engagement with professionals from L.R. Costanzo.  Senior Project Manager Benjamin Washington and Senior Project Engineer Stephen Peterson regularly serve as guest instructors, providing educational learning throughout course of the project.  L.R. Costanzo is also affording paid internships so students can continue learning outside of the college environment.

“Our goal is to expose students to true life situations by showing them that what they’re learning in the classroom and labs really does translate in the real world,” states Stephen Peterson, Project Engineer.  “In other words, we want to expose them to the various types of jobs in construction, since there is no one path to get there.”

Benjamin Washington, Project Manager says, “Taking part in the creation of a building that not only serves as a welcoming showpiece for Johnson College’s constituents, but also provides real time, hands-on learning for its students, has been incredible. Knowing that we are actively contributing to furthering a student’s education has made this job rare and extremely rewarding.”

Alumni Involvement

Both Johnson College and L.R. Costanzo are proud of their alumni involvement in not only this project, but in numerous other projects along the east coast and beyond.  “There are several L.R. Costanzo team members who are proud graduates of Johnson College including myself in 1985 (my father, Tony, 1946, who attended through the GI bill served as my inspiration); Ideal Saldi Hall’s Project Superintendent, Joseph Carlo (1985); and it’s Estimating Manager, Kevin Coolican (1985),” states L.R. Costanzo Vice President of Operations, Matthew Michalek.

Project Superintendent and Alumnus Joseph Carlo states,  “We take an enormous amount of pride in all our projects, but this one is particularly close to our hearts. Our team is working hard to ensure that this building will exceed expectations.”

Michalek continues, “As a locally-owned and operated family company, our leadership strongly supports this wonderful institution. In fact, Louis A. Costanzo served as Board Chair and his son, Louis E. Costanzo served as a Board Member. Currently, our Business Development Executive and Johnson College alum, Candy Frye, 1994, is also Board Member.”