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School of Forest Resources

New building provides a central home for the school’s nationally ranked professional programs.
  • New red brick university building with a central glass atrium - Gannett Fleming.

    The new 92,000-square-foot facility allowed the school to consolidate its programs under one roof.

  • Aerial view of the four-story red brick classroom building - Gannett Fleming.

    Gannett Fleming provided civil and structural design for the new four-story facility

  • Ground-level view of the walkway leading to the entry plaza and central atrium - Gannett Fleming.

    A four-story central atrium and alumni plaza provide informal gathering spaces. 

  • Walkways leading to the rear entrance of the red brick classroom building - Gannett Fleming.

    The rear of the building features a 4,700-square-foot green roof used for teaching and research. 

Client
The Pennsylvania State University
Partner(s)
Bower, Lewis and Thrower Architects
Location
University Park, Pennsylvania
Our Role
Civil/Site, Structural
Data
Size:
92,000 sq. feet
Construction Cost:
$27 million
Completed:
2006
Type:
New Construction
Duration:
3 years
Outcomes
  • The new facility consolidates all of the school’s professional programs under one roof
  • State-of-the-art research labs and classrooms help the school attract top faculty and students
  • Building materials and sustainable features reflect the school’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

Pennsylvania’s wood products industry generates about $5 billion annually and supports approximately 100,000 jobs. Penn State’s School of Forest Resources has nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate programs dedicated to the management of forest resources and their use. To ensure that the school can continue to recruit and retain the highest-caliber faculty and students, provide a top-quality education, and conduct dynamic research for forest-based industries, the university decided it needed a new, state-of-the-art home.

Designed to showcase Pennsylvania hardwood products, the new School of Forest Resources building brings together three professional programs under one roof for the first time: forest science, wood products, and wildlife and fisheries science. Nearly 30 percent of the new building is dedicated to teaching, including four teaching laboratories, two technology classrooms, a 150-seat auditorium, two undergraduate computer labs, and a GIS lab. Research facilities make up another 40 percent, including laboratories for forestry, fisheries, water resources, wildlife, and wood products. A central atrium serves as the building’s main entry, with an adjacent alumni plaza and garden for outdoor events and study.

What We Did

Gannett Fleming provided structural and civil/site engineering services for the design of the new 98,000-square-foot, four-level classroom and laboratory building with one additional below-grade level. The four-level atrium divides the building into two sectors: the classrooms and the laboratories. A partial-width floor slab connects the two wings at each level of the atrium. The atrium roof has maple glulam beams, supporting wood decking and a glass curtain wall extending full height at its entrance. In the classroom and laboratory sectors, steel columns and beams support concrete/metal deck floor slabs. A minipile foundation system supports the interior columns and the building perimeter. The ground-level floors were built as slab-on-grade. Gannett Fleming civil engineers provided site and utility design for the new building, including walkway layouts and stormwater conveyance facilities. 

The School of Forest Resources is the first laboratory building on the Penn State campus to achieve LEED® Silver certification. The new facility boasts a 4,700-square-foot green roof and a patio for leisure and instructional purposes. The green roof serves as a working research collaboration between the School of Forest Resources and the Department of Horticulture.

Key Features

  • Exposed structural elements, such as beams, trusses, and columns, demonstrate the uses  and beauty of Pennsylvania’s wood products
  • A four-story central atrium separates classrooms and research facilities and serves as an informal meeting space
  • More than 40 percent of the building is dedicated to research, including its green roof.

Sustainability Features & Outcomes

  • The School of Forest Resources is the first lab building on the Penn State campus to achieve LEED® Silver certification
  • A 4,700-square-foot green roof serves as a working research collaboration between the School of Forest Resources and the Department of Horticulture
  • Site design reduced the impervious surface area on the site, improving the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff.

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