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Groundbreaking for New Residence Halls Held

Publish Date: 8/22/2012

August 22, 2012

 MANSFIELD, PA—With the turn of several shovels of dirt, the next phase of new student housing construction atRepresentatives of the Mansfield Auxiliary Corporation, Mansfield University, USDA, government, lending and construction organizations break ground for Phase Two of MU’s new student housing project. Mansfield University officially got underway on Wednesday, August 22.

Representatives of the Mansfield Auxiliary Corporation (MAC) and Mansfield University gathered with students and staff, representatives of government, lending institutions and many others for a groundbreaking ceremony on the future site of Spruce Hall.

Spruce will be built on the area formerly occupied by Cedarcrest Manor. Sycamore Hall will be built on the land where Hemlock Manor stood. Hemlock and Cedarcrest were demolished earlier this summer to make way for the project.

“The Mansfield Auxiliary Corporation is excited to have reassembled the development team, along with new contractor Wohlsen Construction, for Phase Two of the Mansfield University student housing replacement plan,” MAC President David Cummings said. “MAC's purpose is to assist MU in providing modern, state of the art suite style housing for the benefit of their students. These two new buildings will complete the new housing quad which will enhance student life at Mansfield University. We feel students will have a living experience unmatched by any others in the State System.”

Interim MU president Allan Golden addresses the gathering.MAC is a 501(c)3 limited liability corporation comprised of Mansfield area business leaders and ex-officio members of the MU administration that is financing the$53.6 million project. The first of a three phase project to replace all residence halls on campus, Oak Hall and Hickory Hall, opened in January. MAC contracts with the University to oversee the daily operation of the new residence halls.

Interim MU President Allan Golden recounted how Phase Two was in jeopardy of not being completed --at least in the foreseeable future-- because of a lack of state funding due to the economy. Golden thanked the MAC for stepping up, taking on the same role they had in Phase One, and keeping the project on track.

“We’ve been able to do, with everybody’s help in the last six months, what would ordinarily have been unheardArtists rendition of the project. Spruce is at bottom right, Sycamore on left, Oak & Hickory at top. of,” Golden said. “And rather than opening in the fall of 2014 (the original projection), we’re going to be able to open in the fall of 2013 because it’s important to build on the momentum that Phase One has created."

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development provided a $20.5 million Community Facilities direct loan and a $14.8 million Community Facilities guaranteed loan through First Commonwealth Bank toward the project.

Acting Deputy under Secretary Judith Canales, on hand for the groundbreaking, said both Mansfield University and the community should be proud of the collaborative effort that has produced these new buildings.

“It is through this community effort that you all came together as leaders and believers in advancing Mansfield,” she said.

In addition to USDA and First Commonwealth Bank, Citizens & Northern Bank, First Citizens Community Bank, Jersey Shore State Bank, S&T Bank and Tioga County Industrial Development Agency are providing financial backing for the project.

Sycamore Hall is scheduled to be completed in time for the fall 2013 semester, with Spruce slated to be completed later next fall. When finished, the two new residence halls will be home to 684 students and feature more private rooms than Oak and Hickory Halls, which house 600 students.

Education Realty Trust (EdR) is the developer of Phase Two. They are utilizing WTW Architects as the lead architectural and design firm, along with Wohlsen Construction as the general contractor. Raymond James | Morgan Keegan is the placement agent and underwriter, and arranged the tax-exempt financing with the USDA and First Commonwealth Financial Corporation.

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