New industrial engineering space to invigorate learning


By Miranda Buckheit

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at Penn State is adding a new student-centered space within the Leonhard Building.

The Leonhard Building, constructed in 2000 and located on Penn State University Park’s West Campus, has not had a substantial renovation since it opened. The College of Engineering Facilities Master Plan identified the Leonhard Building’s lobby on the first floor as an opportunity to provide students and faculty with a place to work in teams, meet with industry collaborators and spend down time.

The construction for the space began on Sept. 14.

“We are very excited that the Leonhard Commons project, begun under my predecessor and long a priority of the department, is nearing completion,” said Steve Landry, professor and department head. “Collaborative space such as this, right in the heart of the Leonhard Building, is key to the success of our students.”

The 6,200 square foot Leonhard Commons will be equipped with group study rooms and a private meeting room outfitted with computers and video conferencing systems, a classroom, gathering hub, recharge zone and a student printing corner.

Computer desk clusters will fill the space outside of the Factory for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) lab. The desk clusters, designed by IME students, will serve as an open space for student groups to work on projects and more.

To give students spaces to meet in teams, five private meeting rooms will be located along the southeast wall of the building. The meeting rooms, featuring glass doors and windows to the outside, will be equipped with monitors and video conferencing technology.

Additionally, the Leonhard Commons will have an open study area with white boards and projector screens for students to discuss homework and projects. The space will also have sectional furniture that can be moved to create a more open space for lectures and other departmental events.

Visit the Leonhard Commons website to learn more about the project.

Gifts toward the $2 million cost of the project will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit Details about the Leonhard Commons and naming opportunities in the space are available on the project website.


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Megan Lakatos