Monday, May 08, 2006

Trickett Hall use to end by this fall

Trickett Hall use to end by this fall

By David Blymire, April 4, 2006

Penn State Dickinson School of Law plans to move out of Trickett Hall this summer.

The school will start fall semester classes in the former United Telephone building in the 1100 block of Harrisburg Pike in Middlesex Township, Dean Philip McConnaughay says.

"A substantial part of the move will occur in early June," he says.

The proposed demolition of Trickett Hall and construction of a new facility at the South College Street site prompted the school to seek temporary quarters for law school classes.

The timetable for demolition and reconstruction is not yet clear. Penn State trustees have not yet approved plans for the new complex, though that could happen as early as July. Then the plans must go through the borough approval process.

Limited renovation expected

McConnaughay describes the Harrisburg Pike building — more recently home to Stoner Associates and Advantica — as an "elegantly remodeled" structure that doesn’t need substantial renovation to convert it from offices to classroom space.

"They did a substantial amount of work for different tenants over the years," he says. "It’s highly suitable as is."

However, Penn State will make the building more accessible and take down some walls to create useable classroom space, he says.

Advantica recently relocated its Carlisle-area office — one of the British-owned company’s two offices in North America — to new quarters in the 600 block of Bent Creek Boulevard in Silver Spring Township.

Middlesex officials last week cleared the way for Penn State to occupy the building.

Township supervisors amended an ordinance allowing colleges and post-secondary educational facilities in the commercial highway district, Zoning Officer Mark Carpenter says. Dormitory facilities will not be allowed, he adds.

Carpenter says law school officials have discussed their application for a building permit to complete the renovations.

Supervisor Victor Stabile previously called the law school’s use of the building a "win" for both sides. Supervisors don’t want the building to sit vacant for long and the school also gets the room it needs during its construction project.

Celebration planned

Meanwhile, Dickinson law school alumni will be invited to a major event planned for the first week of June to mark the end of classes at Trickett Hall, McConnaughay says.

"We will be inviting people in to share with us the sad but celebratory moment of our departure," he says, adding it will also celebrate the future of the law school.

Residents who live near the law school will see students at the site through the middle of summer, as the school’s annual summer law scholar program will run from June 5 through July 15.

The special program gives up to 17 Penn State undergraduate students a chance to get their feet wet in a law school for six weeks each summer, says Director Gisine Brignola.

Parking changes

Looking further into the future, McConnaughay says the law school still needs to address long-term parking needs at the South College Street site.

Classes could return to the new facilities in the borough as early as the 2008-09 school year.

McConnaughay says officials would like to see a combination of offsite parking and "enforcement of parking controls near our site so we release the burden on our neighbors,"

He also predicts better days for residents who live near the law school.

"A lot of bad parking habits will be broken over the next couple of years," he says.

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