Groundbreaking for Lenfest Commons set for Saturday

May 10, 2001

Groundbreaking for Lenfest Commons set for Saturday

By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

Work begins this weekend on a $3.3 million project that will renovate two Wilson College buildings and turn them into the hub of campus activity .

The official groundbreaking for the Lenfest Commons is Saturday, and construction on two floors of McElwain and Davison halls is expected to be completed by summer 2002, said Robert F. Rose, vice president of development and college advancement.

"The Lenfest Commons will actually be the focal point of the campus, not only for students, but for faculty, staff and visitors," Rose said.

Improvements in the state-of-the-art commons area will include a snack bar, fitness wing and student offices.

"This is tying all of these student-related activities together and putting them in one place," Rose said.

The fitness wing will include an aerobics room, a sauna, whirlpool and rehabilitation room.

The project is expected to pull the community together, with the new amenities drawing more students and staff into the common space.


Rose said the update is long overdue.

"It is giving a better opportunity for students to have a college experience and relate to one another," he said. "And there is no question about it, it will enhance the quality of life on campus."

The first floor will house the health center office, chaplain's office, career development center, dean of students and enlarged college store, in addition to a large lobby.

The ground floor will house student activities offices, a coffee house and snack bar, post office and the fitness wing.

The plans also include a new porch and gazebos at the head of a front courtyard.

The design takes advantage of existing structural assets including the Victorian architecture of Norland and Edgar halls, opposite from McElwain and Davison halls, officials said.

While the project has been supported by alumni for years, it was the donation from Marguerite Brooks Lenfest, Class of 1955, and her husband H.F. Gerry Lenfest, that helped make it a reality.

The project is funded through donations to the college's Forever More Capital Campaign, including the Lenfests' $1.7 million donation.

It is the largest single project funded by the college's current capital campaign.

Saturday's 4 p.m. groundbreaking on the lawn between Norland and Edgar halls will be followed by a 4:30 p.m. farewell reception for retiring President Gwendolyn Evans Jensen.

The Lenfests, who live near Philadelphia, will attend the groundbreaking.

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