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Penn State York's new 'front door' nears grand opening

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch

Penn State York's newest building, The Graham Center for Innovation and Collaboration, is almost ready for its official opening. 

The Graham Center at Penn State York, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, is slated to open in January.  Bill Kalina photo

The nearly 8,000-square-foot building took more than a year to complete, with the university breaking ground on the project in April 2019, according to director of business services Holly Gumke. The building cost almost $5 million, which was funded primarily by donors.

Chancellor David Christiansen said the university contributed less than $100,000 to the project. 

The Graham Center at Penn State York, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, is slated to open in January.  Bill Kalina photo

Gumke said two or three staff members could move into the building the first week of January. The university hopes to hold a grand opening event later this year, once it can be done safely and the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, Christiansen said. 

The campus is currently closed to most students and will begin its spring semester Jan. 19. Students will attend remote classes until at least Feb. 15. Staff are allowed to work from campus, Christiansen said. 

More:Penn State York to begin spring semester fully remote

More:Pa.’s ban on indoor dining, school sports won’t extend beyond Jan. 4

The Graham Center will serve as a new home for about 60 students who participate in the Graham Fellows Program and is about eight times larger than the space the students had previously, Gumke said.

The program is open to any student and aims to teach them business skills not typically taught in the classroom, she said. 

The Graham Center at Penn State York, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, is slated to open in January.  Bill Kalina photo

The building is open to all students at Penn State York as well. Christiansen said the center will offer additional programs outside of the fellows program, such as the Center for Inclusive Leadership. He said he wants all students to have access to the program and expects the building to increase enrollment in the fellows program.

"If I were a student … that would be my place," Gumke said. 

Christiansen said the building will also host the university's outreach activities and be a place to engage with Penn State's corporate partners. 

"This is going to be the front door to Penn State York," Christiansen said.