Pennsylvania’s Alvernia University has started the $20m renovation and retrofitting project at its new downtown Reading location at 401 Penn Street in the US.

Being developed in partnership with RLPS Architects and Warfel Construction, the ground-breaking ceremony for the project has been held recently and the renovation works are set to begin soon.

The redesigned ground floor will house a community gathering place and lounge area, as well as space for the university’s business and communication programmes.

In addition, the floor will feature O’Pake Institute for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship’s student-powered business incubator, which is being used by 50 local businesses.

The lower level renovations consist of a collaborative student gathering space, general-purpose classrooms, spaces for the university’s e-sports team and labs for three new engineering programmes.

The fourth and fifth floors will be retrofitted for student housing, with initial designs to accommodate 66 students. The build outs are available to house up to 200 students in the future.

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Alvernia University senior vice-president and provost Glynis Fitzgerald said: “This building is designed to be a superior teaching and learning space with flexible, modular classrooms integrated with the latest technology.

“Students will benefit greatly from the collaboration with faculty members in these new learning spaces, including the trading floor, a state of the art media studio, podcasting stations, the internationally recognised student literary journal, Zephyrus, and the university’s student-run newspaper, The Alvernian, esports and so much more.”

The renovated facility is scheduled to open later this year.

Alvernia University previously received $4m from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant to renovate 401 Penn Street.

Last month, Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, released more details of its first foreign university campus in Indonesia.