In January of 2018, the College unveiled the Muhlenberg Master Plan, an outline for renovations and other physical campus changes to be completed within 10 years. Included in the plan are renovations of Prosser Hall and the lower level of Seegers Union, the building of a new residential hall and the creation of a new academic building called the “Integrative Learning Academic Building” (IL Building).
While this new academic building has been in talks for a few years, no new information about when the building will start construction has been released from the administration.
“The campus Master Plan calls for a new academic building to house the Media & Communication department, the Art department, the Film Studies program and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship minor,” explained President Kathy Harring. “The building will have flexible use classrooms, collaborative work space, a maker space and a performance space.”
“While the current conditions are less than ideal for what I would like to see for our program, we make do with what we have”
Currently the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minor program is housed in the Hillside House, a former fraternity house leased to the college by Phi Kappa Tau, a fraternity that will be returning to campus next semester.
“We are currently in temporary housing that is rented from PKT,” said Rita Chersterton, Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. “From what I understand, we will continue to occupy this building until the Spring of 2021. We are still working on where our program will move at that point, but I am in discussions with administration to ensure that the makerspace and the entire program will continue to have a designated space on campus that serves the needs of our students. As for the IL building, I do not know the status of the building, but I do know that in its current incarnation, the entrepreneurship program is intended to move to the building when it opens.”
Chesterton explained how subpar conditions inside the Hillside House haven’t marred the students in the program’s spirits.
“We are really excited about the opportunities the building will have to support integrative learning and interdisciplinary scholarship”
“While the current conditions are less than ideal for what I would like to see for our program, we make do with what we have,” said Chesterton. “As entrepreneurs, we are used to being scrappy and making something great out of few resources. We have been lucky to have some generous support from alumni and continue to reach out to any alumni who would like to help see our program grow.”
While it is still unclear what the IL Building’s construction status is, Harring seems enthusiastic that the academic building will be a beneficial addition to campus.
“We are really excited about the opportunities the building will have to support integrative learning and interdisciplinary scholarship,” said Harring.
Photo: The Hillside House, Credit: Karly McCloskey