Harrisburg University Student Union Harrisburg, PA

As a partner of Harrisburg University (HU), the arts, the science and entertainment venue known as the Whitaker Center now hosts two HU spaces: the Esports training arena and a new student union that opened in September 2019.

Occupying 7,950 square feet, the student union features dedicated collaborative learning and small group areas, private study and conference rooms, student club meeting space, an aquaponics lab with a video monitoring system, a wellness center, fitness and gaming areas, and a self-service kitchen.

One of the most prominent aspects of the $2 million renovation designed by Murray Associates Architects is an amphitheater with an impressive video wall. This multipurpose area is used for teaching, student/faculty collaboration, distance learning, presentations and community events.

Necessary separation of the student union from the science center was addressed by altering a portion of an interconnecting stairwell, an architectural modification that enabled creation of the mezzanine level.

GBE was responsible for mechanical engineering on the project, which challenged us to find the best return air route. Portions of the energy efficient variable air volume (VAV) system boxes are heated by hot water from a boiler, while others are electric due to lack of excess hot water capacity. By converting a constant volume air handling unit to a variable air volume zoned system, we were able to reduce the amount of hot water required at the unit and use the surplus as local heat in the space.

To view more photos of the facility, check out this article on pennlive.com