Penn State Altoona plans to add 300 beds to its on-campus housing but will need University Park's blessing before moving forward, college Chancellor Lori Bechtel-Wherry said Thursday night.
In a presentation before Logan Township supervisors, Bechtel-Wherry outlined an updated version of short- and long-range plans for educational ventures and facilities. She also mentioned plans to renovate student rooms in Oak Hall and build an addition to accommodate 300 more.
"In a perfect world, we would build on-campus housing immediately and start construction tomorrow, if I had approval from University Park, which I don't," the chancellor said.
Supervisor Joe Metzgar, who chaired Thursday night's meeting in the absence of Chairman Frank Meloy and Vice Chairman Jim Patterson, said he was happy to hear of Penn State Altoona's interest in addressing its housing issue.
"They have plenty of space to expand," Metzgar said. "That's been my contention all along ... so let's keep our fingers crossed that it will get approved by the main campus."
A year ago, the supervisors nixed plans for an off-campus housing complex to accommodate 400 students by refusing to consider a rezoning request.
Durbin & Associates proposed the new structure near the campus, at Wehnwood and Grandview roads, on land zoned for single-family dwellings.
Bechtel-Wherry made no requests of supervisors during her presentation, but when questioned, acknowledged that off-campus housing will play a role in future development.
"Quite frankly, without additional housing off-campus, we will be limited in the amount of growth," she said.
In 2009, supervisors expanded the township's institutional zone to include an undeveloped area on the northwestern border of the campus. With that zoning, a developer could pursue construction of student housing, but none have.