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Bethlehem, Pa., March 28, 2008—Moravian College has partnered with Bethlehem Area Moravians, Inc. (BAM) on a $25 million project that will transform the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus by creating a living and learning community in historic downtown Bethlehem. The centerpiece of the project is a 100,000 square foot building that will house approximately 230 students, contain classrooms, and other learning spaces that support the academic and co-curricular mission of the College.
“We are most grateful for this partnership with the Bethlehem Area Moravians, Inc. that will enable us to create new attractive, safe, quality, affordable housing for our students,” said Christopher M. Thomforde, president of Moravian College. “This project will not only provide students with a wonderful place to live, it will build upon the rich, unique history and heritage of Moravian and allow us to more fully integrate the Hurd Campus into the academic and co-curricular life of the institution and the Bethlehem community.”
Under a unique partnership with the College, BAM will finance, construct, own, and operate the building, on land which will be leased to them by the College. It will do this through a wholly owned non-profit corporation named Moravian College Housing Inc. Students will rent the rooms from BAM, with the College providing administrative support services. Moravian will provide day-to-day custodial and ground services, and oversee maintenance. The College will invest in the academic and co-curricular spaces, campus enhancements, building furnishings, and equipment. The College will operate the café through its food service provider, Sodexho.
“This is an exciting opportunity for two Moravian institutions to work together. The College and BAM have focused their individual strengths to create what I believe will be a beautiful addition to the Hurd Campus and the City of Bethlehem,” said David Roth, general manager of Bethlehem Area Moravians.
The project is expected to have a direct positive impact on the campus and surrounding downtown neighborhood, contributing to the economic, commercial and cultural development of the historic and business district, while at the same time increasing the College’s capacity to accommodate students and enhance its programs. “This project will provide Moravian with the flexibility to increase enrollment modestly while achieving our goal of consolidating more student housing within our campus boundaries and reduce the number of students living in nearby neighborhoods,” said Bernard Story, vice president for enrollment.
The six-story structure will be built on land to the south of W. Church Street, north of E. Lehigh Street, between the Day House and the former site of community pavilion band shell. The fully climate-controlled building will contain a number of living options for students, including 7 different suites configured to accommodate groups from 2 to 16 students.
In addition to the living space, the structure will contain four 40-seat technology-enhanced classrooms, an Information Technology Resource Center, and a wireless computer lounge. The common space will be replete with lounges and study rooms—outside of the individual suites.
Students will enjoy eating at a new Clewell dinning kitchen with area service upgrades, and at a café which will serve as a second point dining service, coffee house, and social center. A Wellness Center will provide a place to recreate and learn about the benefits of maintaining a healthful lifestyle. Other amenities will include laundry areas, full-service mail room, and 65 new parking spaces.
“We expect the building to be a very attractive housing option for our students and create a new level of excitement on campus, said Beverly Kochard, vice president for student affairs and dean of student life. “Today’s students expect amenities that enhance their living experiences while attending college. This new multi-purpose facility is designed to meet the academic, social, health, and technology needs of the modern student.”
In addition the numerous amenities, the building will contain the latest security and safety features including equipment and technology for smoke and fire detection, sprinklers, flame resistant materials, electronic door security, and security cameras. It will be linked in to the College’s campus police central monitoring systems.
All students living on the Hurd Campus will benefit from an enhanced transportation system that will carry students to and from the Main Street Campus—one mile north along Main Street.
The firm of Hemmler and Camayd Architects of Scranton, Pa. have designed an environmentally-friendly building to aesthetically blend with the historical nature of the Hurd Campus. Over the past year, the project has been approved by the City of Bethlehem, Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB), Northampton County Conservation District, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The project encountered an unexpected delay recently when removal of the band shell pavilion exposed three cave-like “root cellars” embedded into the hillside. Construction was stopped so that experts could be brought in to examine the stone-and-brick arched chambers. On March 25, archeologists from John Milner Associates of West Chester began excavating, photographing, and authenticating the discovery. The College will take their findings to Bethlehem's Historic and Architectural Review Board in April. Because it's not likely the cellars are of historical significance—they're not dwellings, and these types of structures are relatively common in Bethlehem's history—the College plans to work with the state and city to dismantle and remove them. Meanwhile, the project's architects are considering creative ways to re-use the stones and bricks from the cellars, and to reproduce their arched shape in some of the building's windows.
The building is expected to be completed and ready for occupancy by August of 2009; a ground-breaking ceremony is planned for April 18, 2008. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. near the construction site on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus, located at Main and Church Streets. A reception in Payne Gallery will follow the groundbreaking.
Alvin H. Butz, Inc., the oldest and largest construction company of its kind in the Lehigh Valley, will manage the project. The construction management company has been consistently ranked among the 100 largest construction managers in the country since 1981. Butz constructed Moravian College’s Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex which was completed in 2002.
Bethlehem Area Moravians was created in 1993 as the umbrella organization for the 6 Moravian congregations in Bethlehem, the first of which was originally established in 1742. It is a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation. Bethlehem Area Moravians, either directly or through affiliated corporations, operates a number of charitable programs in the Bethlehem area, including Moravian House I, II, III, and IV which are low-income housing projects and Moravian Village of Bethlehem, a continuing care retirement community. It interacts on a regular basis with Moravian College to further activities consistent with the mission of the Moravian Church.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.
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