UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning advanced a plan Thursday to renovate and expand the Mildred and Louis Lasch Football Building at the University Park campus.
The full board will consider the proposal and vote on the measure on Feb. 19.
The $48.3 million plan is designed to support the training, education, health and safety needs of student-athletes.
“We have continued to invest in our athletics facilities the last several years, and the Lasch Building has been a big part of that,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour. “We always strive to provide our student-athletes quality facilities which will prepare them for a lifetime of impact, while competing for national championships in all 31 sports. Our alumni and donors have supported our Football Excellence Fund since its inception in recognition of the investment required to support a consistently excellent football program. We will continue to fundraise for this renovation, as well as future projects in our football facilities, and will need the support of our entire Penn State community.”
The Lasch Building originally opened in 1999 and plans to renovate the facility were included as part of Intercollegiate Athletics’ 20-year facilities master plan originally introduced in 2017.
“With the support of the Board of Trustees and many great donors to our Football Excellence Fund, we have been fortunate to complete several upgrades to the Lasch Building since our arrival,” said Head Football Coach James Franklin. “This next phase of those renovations will continue to provide our student-athletes with the resources needed to compete at the highest level on and off the field. The addition of the student-athlete development suite for our 5th Quarter Program will provide a world class facility to prepare our guys as they transition to Penn State and prepare them for life beyond football. We will continue to fundraise to make this and future projects a reality.”
As a result of the pandemic, the University paused some capital projects, including the proposal for the Lasch Building. As part of its reassessment, Penn State determined that tackling the project in a single effort immediately would provide for greater efficiency in design, better financial value and minimize overall disruption to the football program. Officials estimate that further delaying the project would significantly increase the cost of the renovation and expansion.
Plans call for the project to be financed through a combination of private gifts and borrowing by Intercollegiate Athletics. No tuition dollars or general funds are being used to finance the project.
The proposal includes a number of upgrades designed to support the health and safety of student-athletes, including a first-floor weight room expansion and performance enhancement equipment upgrades.
Also part of the plan is a student-athlete development suite to house the “5th Quarter Program,” which is designed to help student-athletes successfully transition from high school to college, and then from college to the professional ranks through life skills and education programs. The 5th Quarter Program will provide student-athletes with a diverse array of programming, seminars, classes and opportunities to assist with developing their skills off the field.
The plan includes sports medicine upgrades that will provide the capacity for more intensive treatments. A new hydrotherapy pool will aid in the treatment and rehabilitation of student-athletes under direct training/physician supervision. Athlete training tables, taping tables and an open rehabilitation space are designed to maximize visibility from a safety perspective. Trainer and assistant trainer offices and graduate student and student trainer workstations are included in the plans.
The proposal also calls for a new student-athlete lobby entrance and mechanical and electrical system upgrades.