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Sense of Place

Edward R. Leahy Jr. Hall at The University of Scranton

University Business, April 2016
  • The Panuska College of Professional Studies at the University of Scranton had  been spread out across three buildings.
  • The Snoezelen Room is one of Leahy Hall’s occupational therapy program features.
  • Special adjustable lighting, music and objects are used to provide sensory comfort to children with autism spectrum disorders and to older adults with dementia.

The University of Scranton has established a home for its departments of exercise science, occupational therapy and physical therapy—key components of the Panuska College of Professional Studies.

The new facility is in downtown Scranton, providing easy access for surrounding community members who depend on the college’s services.

Challenge

The college had been spread out across three buildings: McGurrin Hall and the former Leahy Hall, which were next to each other, and the Long Center, which was more than a quarter mile away.

“My one dream was to have one entrance and have all of our programs together,” says Deb Pellegrino, dean of Panuska College. Officials wanted to preserve the older buildings, but the structures weren’t compatible.

Seventy percent of the graduate programs on campus are part of Panuska College, which serves a total of 2,290 graduate and undergraduate students.

The college has an active relationship with the surrounding community, which relies on the occupational and physical therapy programs, and several other medical services—including a free clinic. Panuska College also offers a student-run food and clothing pantry, among other community outreach programs.

Solution

The eight-story, 116,360-square-foot Edward R. Leahy Jr. Hall brings all Panuska College programs together in one location. It features 25 state-of-the-art laboratories, six active-learning classrooms, three traditional classrooms, group study and conference rooms, and more than 50 faculty offices.

The building also has multiple simulation environments, including a hospital patient room for acute and long-term care training and a streetscape with an apartment, street corner, garage and grocery store for rehabilitation education. In addition, there’s a 260-person lecture hall, a cafe and a green roof that has opened up opportunities for student-run therapy and sensitivity gardens.

Leahy Hall has been an enrollment boon, resulting in waiting lists in the occupational and physical therapy programs, Pellegrino says. “When parents and families come in from
Long Island, New Jersey and New York—we even now have students coming in from as far away as New Hampshire, which used to be a second market—they see the facility, they see the research with the faculty and they say, ‘I want to come here.’ ”

  • COMPLETED: August 2015
  • COST: $47.5 million
  • PROJECT TEAM: Hemmler + Camayd (Scranton) and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (Wilkes-Barre), assisted by Health Education & Research Associates (Philadelphia), architects; The Quandel Group Inc. (Scranton), construction manager.

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