Wilkes University has completed more than $3 million in transformative enhancements that beautify the campus and surrounding neighborhood. The Campus Gateway Project combined university resources with Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development funds to enhance the campus while improving pedestrian and traffic safety.
Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy was joined by State Senator John Yudichak, State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski, Wilkes-Barre City Administrator Ted Wampole and Wilkes Student Government President Hunter Hughes on Nov. 19 to commemorate the conclusion of the project. Leahy said the enhancements continue the university’s progress on $100 million in campus improvements.
“The Campus Gateway Project has transformed Wilkes, resulting in a cross section of walkways that unify our campus. It also helped us achieve a decades-long dream of creating a first-class, residential campus that’s fully integrated into our host city of Wilkes-Barre,” said Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy. “I want to thank Sen. John Yudichak and Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski for their help in securing the Multimodal Transportation Fund grant that made this project possible. We are also grateful to Mayor Tony George and the city of Wilkes-Barre. With their support, our campus has never been more connected.”
Highlights include new entrances to the Henry Student Center parking lot from South River Street and South Franklin Street. The project also expanded the south entrance plaza to the student center with landscaping and outdoor seating. The parking area now reaches South Franklin Street with a pedestrian walkway connecting to the Henry Student Center. The project was partially funded by the Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF) program, which provides grants for transportation-related projects. Wilkes received a $650,000 grant in 2016.
The second component is the expansion of the Karambelas East Campus Gateway into the heart of campus. The gateway, constructed in 2015, connects South Main Street to South Franklin Street. The expansion of the gateway into the Fenner Quadrangle ensures a cross section of walkways defining and connecting the Wilkes campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors. Additionally, the project created the new South Campus Gateway, which connects the Henry Student Center to Stark Learning Center. These two Gateways beautify the campus and support the new, state-of-the-art Mark Engineering Center located in Stark Learning Center.
“With each new investment in its campus, Wilkes University continues its impressive march toward being a nationally recognized small research university,” said Yudichak. “And, with every stride, Wilkes improves the fortunes of both their students and the citizens of Wilkes-Barre.”
“The Campus Gateway Project will fully connect Wilkes University, ensure student safety and take additional steps to beautify an already beautiful campus,” Pashinski said. “I’m thankful for the support of Governor Tom Wolf and the insight and planning of the administration at Wilkes. This project was completed quickly and I’m glad students are already enjoying the finished project.”
On behalf of the mayor, Wampole added, “The George Administration thanks Wilkes University and President Leahy for their dedication to not only improving the Wilkes campus but for its positive impact on the entire City of Wilkes-Barre.”