Plans for Marywood’s South Campus tentative; cleanup underway

Sarah E. Cruz, Staff Writer

Plans are being made for the newest addition to Marywood University, known as South Campus. Meanwhile, the arduous task of getting the property ready for renovation and revitalization is proceeding.

The former site of the Scranton State School for the Deaf, comprised of nine acres and nine buildings, was purchased this past March for $500,000. Joseph Garvey, vice president for business affairs and treasurer, stated that between December 2012 and 2013, the plans for South Campus will be finalized, in addition to the costs of each individual phase and the cost overall.

Initial renovations will begin in 18 months and the entire project will take about a decade to complete. DiMella Shaffer, an architectural firm out of Boston, has given university officials various options and probable costs for the property. The estimated cost of the entire project could be in excess of $20 million.

Dr. Alan M. Levine, Vice President for Academic Affairs, stated “nothing is in stone at this point.” However, a tentative plan has been established involving three phases. Phase A calls for the relocation of some administrative offices including University Advancement and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, as well as the African Sisters Education Collaborative. Phase B will include the moving of certain academic programs, offices, and classrooms. Garvey said that these will be “stand alone [graduate] programs that do not involve undergraduate classes.” These include the School of Social Work and Administrative Studies and the Doctoral Program in Human Development. Phase C will be the relocation of the Reading Clinic which is currently located in McGowan, the Speech Language-Hearing Clinic, and
Psychological Services Center.

Once renovations are completed, possible additions could include a café, a second bookstore to complement the main one, and a reading area for staff and students. Another possibility is usage of certain areas by the greater community. Levine said, “ certainly whatever we do, we will do it deliberately, thinking of the best interest of the Marywood Community.”

According to Wendy Yankelitis, Assistant Vice President for Building and Grounds, the property is undergoing a process known as “mothballing,” which involves evaluating roofs, windows, and foundations to ensure that they are “water tight.” It also includes shutting down certain utilities to prepare the property for the work ahead. Garvey said this also involves removing trees, cleaning out buildings, and taking care of environmental issues they might have in addition to making them ADA compliant. Items from the property will be sold, given, or thrown away. Yankelitis added that some of the desks and other items have already been donated to Little Sisters of the Poor, various camps, and other charities.

There are two members of the maintenance staff currently on the grounds, as well as one member of security to guard the grounds at night. Eventually, a security system connected to the main system will be installed so that both campuses can be monitored at both locations.

Garvey stressed that even though “rumors abound, the Marywood community should not take any to heart. They should wait until plans are put in place.” He said in November, initial plans will be presented to the entire Marywood community and that he will be giving tours of the property personally so that individuals can see for themselves the necessary work that needs to be done.