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The Armory
The “Armory” behind Gene Shirk Stadium at 12th and Bern, was originally a hosiery mill and also served as an Army Reserve Center.        photo: Dave Markowski

Reading Armory Transferred to Albright College

Campus Eyesore to Fall at Long Last

The long wait for ownership of the derelict “Armory” behind Gene Shirk Stadium at 12th and Bern is finally over.

After working for 10 years to acquire the former Army Reserve Center, Albright is now able to demolish the building and pave the site for parking.

In 1998, Albright petitioned the Department of Defense for the property, vacant since 1987, with hopes of using it to expand the site of the new stadium. The Department of Defense passed the deed to the City of Reading to transfer to Albright, and the transfer agreement with the city was signed in 2003.

In September, the city transferred the property to Albright for one dollar plus settlement fees. Because the building was also a battery factory and is laden with asbestos, environmental remediation must be completed before the building can be razed. Demolition is scheduled to be completed by Thanksgiving and the site paved for parking.

The building, originally a hosiery mill, had some historical interest, so the Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission required the College to document the building’s history. For you history buffs, the history can be found online at

Center for Community Leadership Once Again Fully Part of Albright College

The Center for Community Leadership (CCL), founded in 1994 by Albright College as the “Local Government Program,” has operated since 1999 under the sponsorship of the Higher Education Council of Berks County (HECBC), a consortium of the five Berks County colleges and universities. HECBC recently endorsed a proposal to have CCL once again become a department of Albright College under the dean of continuing education and community outreach. Albright has always been CCL’s administrative agent, housing the center and its staff.

CCL provides education and training for local officials; fosters cooperative initiatives among municipalities to help meet the growing demand for services and to reduce operating costs; and enhances citizen understanding of local government operations, the community decision-making process, and policy choices for addressing public issues. More than 7,000 officials have attended CCL training programs. In addition to program fees, grants and contracts, CCL is supported financially by 66 municipal sponsors and 29 private sector sponsors.

According to John Kramer, CCL director, CCL will maintain its collaborative relationship with the other colleges and universities, but having Albright as its full “parent” again will facilitate growth in programming and opportunities to seek new grant funding.

“We will continue to work closely with the Berks colleges and universities on programs that benefit the community, but being an Albright-sponsored and supported program makes our day-to-day operations much easier, for example, for insurance requirements, administration of grants and so on,” said Kramer.

Albright President Lex McMillan said clarifying the relationship between the College and the CCL was a logical move. “The community has always identified CCL as an Albright venture. We are enormously proud of the role it has played in our community, and we are delighted to have it fully integrated into Albright once again. It will make center operations more efficient and afford greater opportunities for increasing its effectiveness in the community, which is its main goal,” McMillan said.

“The community has always identified CCL as an Albright venture. We are enormously proud of the role it has played in our community, and we are delighted to have it fully integrated into Albright once again.”
– President Lex McMillan

$85K Grant to Equip New Environmental Lab

Albright College has received a grant of $85,480 from the U.S. Department of Education to help equip a new biology and environmental science research laboratory in the new Science Center. The total cost of equipping the lab is $645,000. The grant was obtained on Albright’s behalf through the efforts of Senators Arlen Specter and Robert Casey Jr. The Science Center is currently under construction. (See update here.)

The state-of-the-art lab will be used to promote undergraduate education in watershed studies as well as faculty and student research and projects. The grant will purchase laboratory and field equipment, additional Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, and computer hardware and software. Longstanding Albright environmental projects include monitoring of local lakes and streams for quality and biological integrity for more than 30 years, and a creek restoration project in concert with the city of Reading.

The lab will also help in future development of an Institute for Watershed and Wetlands Studies, a multi-organizational initiative to safeguard and improve the open-water network within the Schuylkill River Watershed.

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