Government representatives, alumni and community members packed into the college’s McMillan Center during a rainy Homecoming weekend to celebrate the phase one construction of the new Student Success Commons and Library. Speakers included Albright College President Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82, Board Chair Ron Scheese ’83, Reading Mayor Eddie Moran, City Council President Donna Reed, Berks Board of Commissioners Chair Christian Leinbach, and PA State Senator Judy Schwank.
When completed, Albright’s Student Success Commons and Library will become an important cornerstone of Reading’s Innovation Corridor. The project is estimated to make an immediate $25 million impact on the community through the creation of construction jobs. It is one of the largest construction projects in the county getting underway this year.
“Today we celebrate the transformation of our traditional library into a 21st century learning facility that serves both the college and our community,” said Fetrow. “As part of our strategic vision, Albright College is committed to its role as an anchor institution in the city of Reading, and to developing and strengthening community partnerships that contribute to the vibrant future of Reading and Berks County.”
Designed to be much more than a building, the innovative, multi-functional facility will provide a fully accessible space for campus and community members of all abilities, foster community partnerships through expanded educational and cultural opportunities, and be a vibrant core that combines key student success initiatives — all in one location.
Archives that will enjoy space in the facility include the Lakin Holocaust Resource Center, in collaboration with the Jewish Federation; the Griffiths History and Cultural Center and the Black Cultural Collection and Resource Center — a gift from the Central PA African American Museum.
Student resources such as the Patty Parker Molnar Center for Writing Excellence, the Academic Learning Center and the Experiential Learning and Career Development will all be under one roof.
To date, $10.5 million has been raised in private support from more than 200 donors. An additional $4 million in major grants includes a $1 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, for which Sen. Judy Schwank advocated, $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds that Berks County Commissioners helped to procure, and another $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding from Mayor Moran and the City of Reading.
Albright generates more than $4.8 million tax revenues for state and local governments, annually. And a 2018 study revealed that Albright impacts Pennsylvania’s economy by $102.4 million each year by sustaining and supporting more than 1,000 jobs across the state through direct employment as well as indirect jobs that support the institution’s faculty, staff, students and visitors.
“It was truly wonderful to look around and see so many government officials, donors, trustees, alumni, and friends all gathered to celebrate this kickoff,” said Scheese. “The blending of public and private resources can have a major impact on a community and the Student Success Commons and Library is intended to further strengthen the ties between Albright and the community.”