PSU Altoona dedicates building

Penn State Altoona officials Saturday dedicated the Penn Building — part of their downtown campus — on 12th Avenue.

“We are delighted to dedicate the Penn Building, which is the newest addition to our downtown campus. This project was made possible through our collaboration with the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation and the City of Altoona, and the beneficence of Michael Fiore and John Radionoff of Discovery Development LLC,” said Chancellor and Dean Lori Bechtel-Wherry. “We are proud to work with others in our shared community to continue to grow and develop downtown Altoona and its economic re-development.”

Fiore and Radionoff gifted a large portion of the second floor of the building, Bechtel-Wherry said.

The Penn Building — part of the old Penn Furniture building — is four floors.

Penn State Altoona occupies (are leasing to purchase via the ABCD Corp.) the basement, second and third floors. The first floor is owned by the Allegheny Ridge Corp.

The basement houses labs for the four year rail transportation engineering program, the only four-year baccalaureate program in rail in the country. The second floor houses office and gathering spaces for business, security risk analysis and rail transportation faculty, staff and students. The third floor houses several classrooms (both large and small), computer labs and lots of student study and hang out space.

The Penn Building is an important project for the city.

“This project is another in a series resulting from a solid foundation of leadership, vision, partnerships between the public and private sectors and an unrelenting willingness to not let Blair County’s biggest city falter,” said President/CEO Steve McKnight of ABCD Corp. “Without Penn State Altoona and specifically Lori’s leadership, her ability to convince others to get on board, and an infectious optimism to look at every daunting obstacle as just another hurdle to jump, this dedication, along with the Devorris Downtown Center, the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, the Aaron Building, and the Kazmaier Family Center would not have happened.”

McKnight said there is more good news on the way.

“ABCD Corporation was glad to have played a part in this and all of the Penn State Altoona downtown building projects. Without a doubt, we feel the best is yet to come, let’s all keep thinking big,” McKnight said.