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Classes start Monday at mall's Chambersburg Center

July 31, 1998

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

SCOTLAND, Pa. - Patrons of Chambersburg Mall may now shop for education almost as easily as for a pair of sneakers or a new dress, according to David Goldenberg, CEO of the Mont Alto campus.

"It's a spontaneous purchase of education," Goldenberg said Thursday at the opening of the Penn State Mont Alto Chambersburg Center.

The grand opening runs through Sunday, with classes starting Monday. The 4,300-square-foot facility includes classrooms for computer training, seminars and lectures, according to Technical Training Coordinator Jean Barlup.

The center also has a conference room and a free library devoted to health topics, she said.

Barlup said courses range from $19 to $45 an hour for individual sessions, up to about $400 for credit courses. Student-shoppers can take a computer class, look up the latest health information on the Internet, earn paralegal and other certificates, or take regular college courses, she said.

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Mondays will be set aside for one-on-one tutorial services, she said.

"I'm a complete computer illiterate, so I have to start somewhere," Joe Russo of Chambersburg, Pa., said as he and his wife MaryAnn signed up for classes.

"I'm going down through Word Perfect and Windows. There's a lot of uses that I'm not familiar with," MaryAnn Russo said.

Goldenberg predicted many students will be like the Russos. He said people over 45 are the fastest-growing segment of computer users.

Along with technology, Goldenberg said health courses will be offered at the center, as they are at the Mont Alto campus. Students can earn credits in occupational therapy, gerontology and other disciplines.

The center will be open 71 hours a week and will be able to accommodate up to 70 students an hour, according to Larry Glen, one of seven staff members at the center. The center will be open from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. most days.

Goldenberg said planning for the center was completed in December. He said the university has a 10-year lease with Crown American, which owns the mall.

"In our malls we have doctor's offices, hospitals and churches. This is the modern-day downtown," said Ron Formosa, the mall's senior general manager. He said Crown American owns 29 malls around the country.

Goldenberg said faculty members went to other malls around the country to determine what did and did not work in storefront campuses.

"Not one cent of taxpayers' dollars went into the construction of the center or its operation," said Goldenberg, who said it cost more than $300,000.

Foundation grants and individual donations paid for the center, including a $50,000 donation from Robert Dunham, a dean at Penn State University, he said. The goal of the center, he said, is to be self-sustaining.

The center comes with a guarantee, according to Barlup.

"If someone feels they really didn't get it the first time, they can come back free once within 90 days," she said.

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