Building Albright’s Future – Albright College

Building Albright’s Future

by Carey Manzolillo, MBA

Library Renovation At Night

Predating Plato and Aristotle, Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus asserted Panta Rhei (life is flux). And even just within the last 165 years of Albright’s history, it’s clear that change is constant. So it remains sensible to always look forward — especially when undertaking major projects. Two such projects are currently underway at Albright: the renovation of the Leo Camp building and the transformation of Gingrich Library into a new Student Success Commons and Library. Both are being designed to connect all of the ways that students learn in the 21st century.

Student Success Commons and Library

Albright’s library is more than a quiet academic center on campus. Mindful of the college’s goal to support the success of every student, the library will become a hub of activity, supporting emergent technologies and new ways of learning, teaching, studying and researching.

“Our vision is to create an academic center designed to foster a vibrant intellectual, cultural and social life for all members of our community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and residents of Berks County and surrounding communities,” says Karen Campbell, provost, senior vice president for Academic Affairs, dean of the faculty and P. Kenneth Nase M.D. ’55 chair of biology. Highlights include:

  • A first-floor learning commons with library services, flexible study and meeting spaces utilizing built-in technology, and a new Student Welcome Center for prospective students and their families.
  • People and programs that help students succeed, such as the Academic Learning Center, Experiential Learning and Career Development Center, tutoring, academic coaching, accessibility services and Title III program offices, will all be available all under one roof.
  • On the second floor, a new History and Cultural Center will house Albright’s History Department classrooms and faculty offices, as well as all of the college’s special collections: Albright’s historical archives, the Nolan local history collection, the Lakin Holocaust Resource Center, and pieces from the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum.
  • On the third floor, a newly expanded Writing Center will include tutoring, study spaces and offices for our English composition faculty — creating a central location for teaching and learning writing skills.

“Having a welcoming, inclusive academic center that supports emergent technologies along with the many different ways in which our students learn, study, research and engage with peers, faculty and staff is critical to the academic success of our students,” says Campbell. “The Student Success Commons and Library will bring all of these resources together in an easily accessible, centralized space to support the academic success of all Albright students.”

Learn more online at

Leo Camp Building Renovation

Leo Camp Building

Located at 1801 N 12th Street (adjacent to the Shumo Center and Gene Shirk Stadium), the Leo Camp Building is a shared space that houses Albright administrative offices, facility operations and a spacious manufacturing facility. A full 25,000 square feet of open space within the building is earmarked to become the new home of Albright’s Science Research Institute (SRI) — an elite program for K-12 grade students to create self-directed research projects in biomedical, genetic, environmental, agricultural, biotechnology and materials sciences. Students can also explore dance, art, music, the humanities, culinary arts and fashion through SRI projects.

“SRI is one of the most exciting projects driving the reinvention of Berks County as a hub of innovation and creativity,” says Kevin Murphy, president and CEO of the Berks County Community Foundation. “Making the Camp Building into a home worthy of that effort will accelerate our progress and allow us to expand the number of students who can participate.”

The renovation will include state-of-the-art science and technology laboratory and research spaces designed to create an environment that encourages innovation, complemented by access to research-grade equipment, exposure to cutting-edge technology, and introductions to modern sciences by skilled mentors.

“A unique combination of industry-grade equipment — and safety features designed specifically for middle and high school students — will make this facility a one-of-a-kind in the United States,” says Adelle L. Schade, dean of pre-college and summer programs and director of SRI at Albright. Highlights include:

  • Cell culture facilities
  • Materials and glass science laboratory
  • Advanced imaging equipment (electron microscope, confocal and fluorescence imaging)
  • A greenhouse to incorporate horticulture and agricultural sciences
  • Laboratories dedicated to computer science, 3D printing, etc.
  • Large common areas to encourage interaction and collaboration

Later phases will expand Science Research Institute’s footprint within the building and add spaces to support other Albright programs for more synergistic SRI collaborations. These projections include a flexible theater performance area, classrooms, laboratories and studio spaces for music industry studies, fashion and digital communications.

“As the oldest college in Reading, Pennsylvania, Albright’s longstanding commitment to science and workforce development continues today,” says Campbell. “We are committed to educating students of academic promise and to enhancing Reading’s reputation as an innovation center.”