State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Penn State Students Return to School, Crowds, Traffic Delays Likely

by on August 22, 2014 6:00 AM

With Happy Valley bracing for the fall semester flood of Penn Staters, a mighty torrent of students and their parents are expected to swamp State College over the next few days.

You'll see them coming in cars, vans and SUVs (many with out-of-state license plates) that are packed to the rooftops with computers, bedding, fans, mirrors and who-knows-what kind of college student essentials.

If anyone has forgotten anything there's no reason to worry.

Stores across State College are loaded with back-to-school supplies including mattresses, futons, bottled water, paper, (writing and toilet) notebooks, binders, and a sea of pens and pencils.

And let's not forget all of the Penn State merchandise that's up for sale -- pillows, beer mugs, backpacks, tee-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry and even neon signs emblazoned with the PSU logo.

The State College Police Department has designated Friday and Saturday as Penn State Student Return Days. That means one eastbound lane will be closed in the 600 block East College Avenue each day from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. That's to give returning students space to unpack their vehicles.

Police also say you should expect minor traffic delays on East College Avenue between South Garner Street and University Drive due to the influx of vehicles heading into town.

On campus, we'll likely see gridlock with parking spots near the dorms in ultra-high demand.

Many International students arrived early and a few freshmen were also able to beat the rush.

Incoming freshman Logan Sweeder and her family were busy unloading boxes outside East Halls on Thursday. Logan admits to feeling a bit overwhelmed. "It's kind of stressful, a little confusing ... we agreed to stay calm through this whole situation, she says laughing.

Asked what she's looking forward to Logan answered like a veteran Nittany Lion. "The experience and football games. ... I've got my season tickets."

Logan's mom, Paige Sweeder, says they came well-prepared. "I think she's tried to bring everything she possibly can. I don't think she realized she's coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas."

Across campus, at West Halls, Ryan Bass from Hopewell Township, NJ, was moving into Thompson Hall with help from his parents. Ryan says he brought the necessities, "My computer, my tennis racket, the bare bones."

His mother, Lisa Bass says they brought a little more than that. "We have rugs and storage units and lights and computer and electronics and clothes and sporting goods. So I think we got it covered."

Penn State students will spend the next few days getting settled in at their dorms, apartments and homes -- before things get serious.

Classes begin Monday.

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Steve Bauer is Managing Editor & Chief Content Officer at StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy. You can e-mail Steve at Steve.Bauer@StateCollege.com and you can follow him on Twitter @SteveBauerSCcom
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