The Shaver's Creek Environmental Center has aged fairly well in its 75 years of existence.
But it's time for an update and the center will soon undergo its first major renovation.
According to a press release from the university, Shaver's Creek is in dire need of an update, partly because "classroom space is often filled to capacity."
"We’ve seen tremendous growth during the past decade and a half in the number of students and visitors who utilize the far-reaching resources at Shaver’s Creek," director Mark McLaughlin said. "The expansion and renovation project is necessary to help provide outstanding services to the more than 60,000 people who rely on our expertise each year."
Shaver's Creek was founded in 1976 as a field laboratory for Penn State students and is located in the ridge-and-valley area of central Pennsylvania in Petersburg, just 12 miles from campus. The center also hosts a variety of events open to the community throughout the year.
The first component of a multi-phase project to upgrade the environmental center will cost $4 million and begin in the summer of 2016, funded through donations and financial support from Penn State Outreach and Online Education.
The renovation will include a number of much-needed upgrades for Shaver's Creek including:
• Two new classrooms with the flexibility to open into one large classroom that will hold over 100 people
• An enhanced visitor experience with renovations to the main building's Discovery Room and book store
• An office space addition that will hold 25 full-time employees, who were previously spread among five buildings
• A second phase of construction that will improve the raptor center and upper classroom
According to the press release, these renovations will allow Shaver's Creek to accommodate 1,300 students, a significant improvement from the 275 students that the facility was able to hold in 2001.
“We’re building the future of environmental education and helping prepare the next generation to make informed decisions and choices,” McLaughlin said. “This project will enrich the educational experience with the natural world for all those who come to Shaver’s Creek.”