From a new science and technology building to the reorganized business school‚ East Stroudsburg University is a beehive of activity‚ all aimed at making the institution even more ready to meet the needs of current and prospective students.
ESU recently finished a new‚ 10-building student-housing complex‚ University Ridge‚ which can accommodate 540 of the school’s 2‚500 resident students. Officials also have broken ground on a $40 million science and technology building. In addition‚ the business programs have been restructured and placed under one umbrella‚ the new College of Business‚ Management and Economics.
At 7‚300‚ campus enrollment is at an all-time high‚ making it the fastest-growing university in the Pennsylvania state system. Interest in the school has been consistently increasing over the years‚ so planners knew they had to make some upgrades and additions to keep pace.
“We are situated in the second-fastest-growing county in the state‚ and many of our competitors are flocking to this region to try to recruit students‚” says Doug Smith‚ director of university relations. “Much of what we are doing has a very positive impact on our attractiveness to the students we have‚ and to the potential market we’re trying to reach. It makes us much more competitive‚ and it’s turned out that all of our new projects are coming at a time that’s very good for us‚ not just in terms of what we’re offering now‚ but the new and dynamic things we’ll have going forward.”
In addition to the new student housing‚ one of the most visible changes on campus will be the new Science and Technology Center‚ which is set to open in 2009. The 124‚000-square-foot building will include 17 teaching laboratories‚ nine research laboratories‚ 5‚000 square feet of other lab space‚ nine classrooms‚ a planetarium‚ 200-seat auditorium‚ rooftop observatory‚ reception area and faculty offices‚ including some for non-science faculty.
“The building is the result of a very meticulous and extensive master plan put together 10 years ago‚” Smith says. “We looked at what the most essential needs for the campus were in terms of physical needs‚ and laboratory space was shown to be one of our biggest deficits.”
Planners went out into the marketplace to see what the trends and dynamics were and how they could best design a new facility that would prepare students for employment upon graduation. That led to a building that not only serves science and technology‚ but outside faculty such as English professors.
“We wanted the building to have some interdisciplinary aspects‚” Smith says. “If you’re a scientist and can’t write reports‚ than that’s a failure in the scheme of the entire learning process. We wanted to have people in the building that offer different skills.”
In the classroom‚ ESU administrators and faculty applied those same forward-thinking principles‚ with the result being the newly christened colleges of Business‚ Management and Economics‚ and Education. The business school‚ in particular‚ was of great interest because of the ongoing popularity of ESU’s various business academic tracks. The new college will consists of four departments: business management and economics; sports management; recreation and leisure services management; and hotel‚ restaurant and tourism management. The combined enrollment in these departments was 1‚104 during the fall 2006 semester.
“Ken Borland‚ our provost‚ determined that this was something that made total sense‚” Smith says. “Combining these programs in such a way that made them much more accessible to potential students was a goal‚ as well as making the programs much more useful in terms of creating marketable skills.
“Students can go out and get jobs immediately after graduation as a result of having been graduates of a college of business rather than various other elements of a business program‚” he says. “Putting them all together already has made all the difference in the world in terms of the potential marketability of our students.”