On Dec. 11, 2020, it was announced that Muhlenberg received a $7.5 million gift in support of capital projects from an anonymous alumnus of the College. The school intends on using the gift to ignite funding for one new building and an expansion to Seegers Union to be added to the campus.
The first project is a new building on the south end of campus near the firehouse and the high school baseball field overlooking Parkway Boulevard. The Parkway building will replace the old Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house and demolition is expected to commence in late March of 2021, but as of Mar. 30, there has yet to be any activity.
The second project is an expansion of Seegers Union which will add an additional 42,000 square feet for classrooms and career development programs/advising. The Seegers expansion will also introduce new conference rooms, a new event space with seating accommodations for hundreds of people and a new alumni lounge.
According to Richard Waligora, the project manager, and Kent Dyer, chief business officer, the Parkway building will be ready for the Fall 2022 semester.
“Work will commence this spring and continue through summer 2022,” stated Dyer. “For the addition to Seegers Union, we have a schematic drawing and some renderings. Next steps will be to engage an architect (possibly the architect that completed the schematic drawing) and a construction manager. Once the planning process is complete, construction is estimated to take 18 to 24 months.” Both buildings have early renderings.
The expansion to Seegers and the addition of the Parkway building are part of the College’s master plan to create new opportunities for both staff and students alike. “The campus master plan which involved faculty, staff and students in the planning laid the foundation for the projects,” said Rebekkah Brown, vice president of advancement.
“The Parkway building will provide much needed and better space for the innovation and entrepreneurship program, senior student art studios and faculty offices currently housed in the Hillside House which the College is renting,” explained Brown. “That lease expires before Fall 2022. The new building will also increase space for the community engagement office and the polling institute and allow for increased student engagement in those areas.”
The new expansion to Seegers Union would also provide students with more job opportunities. “The expansion to Seegers Union supports student outcomes with expanded Career Center space and space for pre-professional advising, as well as meeting rooms and seminar space,” Brown said. “Both projects will have clear benefits and increase opportunities for our students.”
Despite a majority of the funding for the project coming from the $7.5M donation, Muhlenberg is still coming up with ways to fundraise for the projects. The College intends on employing different fundraising methods over the next five years to aid with the expansion. Dyer indicated that a good amount of the funding for these building projects will come from a combination of gifts and loans.
The ongoing impacts of the pandemic are also of concern with lower enrollment and increased financial aid needs impacting the College community. Both Dyer and Brown have indicated that the College is working to come up with fundraising strategies to benefit students throughout the pandemic.
Dyer said, “We have and will continue to fundraise for endowed scholarships, high impact experiences such as undergraduate research, internships and study abroad, as well as student emergency grants all to support students, particularly those who have been most affected by the pandemic.”