DuBOIS – Construction continues to progress on the new Fitness, Athletics and Wellness (PAW) Center at Penn State DuBois, work is on schedule and expected to be completed by fall 2022 .
Penn State’s board of directors approved the $17.3 million project in July. The project will transform the former multi-purpose building into a state-of-the-art facility focused on athletics, health and recreation.
“Alexander Building Construction of State College is really doing a great job for us on this job,” said Penn State DuBois Maintenance Supervisor Tom Hibbert. “COVID has created a lot of delays in the construction industry; and although there were delays in receiving some materials, it is an issue that the construction team handles very well, and they were able to meet the schedule. Hibbert explained that crews continue to carry out work in areas where supplies are readily available while waiting for other materials to arrive.
When completed, the building’s gymnasium will feature all-new flooring, new and improved bleacher seating, new lighting and more. The fitness center will be updated to provide students and student-athletes, as well as employees, with a space to work on staying healthy. Additional training space as well as offices for athletics staff will also be housed in the renovated building. Two sets of home and away changing rooms are being built, and new heating and air conditioning systems will also be installed to improve efficiency.
Penn State DuBois athletic director Ken Nellis said the project was received with great enthusiasm. He also expressed his gratitude for the support the campus sports teams have received from the community and other local organizations. Due to construction, the volleyball team held all home games at alternate facilities this season, and the men’s and women’s basketball teams played exclusively on the road.
“We are extremely pleased with the progress of construction and look forward to returning to the building in September,” Nellis said. “With the ongoing struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more difficult not to have our own facility for practices and matches. The DuBois Area School District, Jeff Tech and the YMCA saved lives by providing space for our teams to hold practices and games. Penn State DuBois students, athletes and coaches are excited about the new facilities and the energy they will bring back to campus; not to mention home games.
Originally constructed in 1966, the building once housed the Wildlife Technology Program in addition to spaces related to athletics and fitness. Wildlife technology will be moved into existing space on campus in the Smeal building which has also been updated to better meet the needs of the program.
A lasting impact on campus will be achieved through the generosity of donors who have contributed to this project, including Charles Snapp, the Fairman Family Foundation, Christine Beretsel, Dan and Donna Kohlhepp, Janine Fennell Johnson and Bob Johnson. Additionally, Penn State committed funding through university capital funds, and the Student Government Association voted to direct student facility fee dollars to the project. Major maintenance funding and campus budget dollars will also help cover costs.