Penn State Shenango

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Penn State Shenango
Established 1965
Type Semi-Public
2- and 4-year undergraduate
Chancellor Frederic Leeds
Students 893
Location Sharon, PA, USA
Campus Urban
14.5 acres (0.05 km²)
Colors Blue and White
Mascot Nittany Lion
Affiliations Penn State University
Shenango Logo

Penn State Shenango is a Commonwealth Campus of the Pennsylvania State University, located on a 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus in downtown Sharon, Pennsylvania. Penn State Shenango has the distinction of being the only urban campus in the Penn State system, although some parts of Penn State Altoona that are located in the heart of Altoona's downtown are urban in nature.


In 1963 a group of local citizens formed the Shenango Valley Citizens College Procurement Committee with the purpose of expanding the higher education opportunities in the area. After a series of meetings with the Penn State Board of Trustees, a plan was developed in 1964 for creating a new Penn State campus in Sharon that would allow students to start their college career locally and transfer to the flagship campus in University Park. The State Board of Education approved this proposal, and the first students were admitted to the Penn State Shenango Valley campus in 1965.

Lecture Hall is the oldest structure on the Penn State Shenango campus.

Initially, classes were held in Kennedy Catholic High School as funds were raised for the construction of a permanent campus. After briefly considering building a campus from scratch in Hickory Township (now Hermitage), the directors instead chose to base the campus around existing buildings in downtown Sharon. The first buildings to be purchased for the campus were Sharon Hall and Lecture Hall, which were purchased from the Sharon Central School District. As programs and enrollment grew, new buildings were constructed or purchased adjoining Sharon and Lecture Halls during the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1980s the "Valley" was dropped from the official name of the campus.

At the start of the 2006-2007 academic year, a $9.4 million renovation of campus was completed. The renovation updated Sharon and Lecture Halls linking them with an enclosed glass atrium. The renovations also transformed the former gymnasium space in Sharon Hall into the Great Hall including new food service, fitness, and student activities spaces.

Science Building and Forker Laboratory on the Penn State Shenango Campus.

Currently the campus is entering a capital campaign to raise funds for modernizing the Auditorium Building with an eye to adding increased accessibility, new restroom facilities, and updating the space for multiple uses. Construction on the first phase of this project is slated to start in 2008. Future projects for the campus, as outlined in its Master Plan, include the closure of a portion of Shenango Avenue at the center of the campus to create a pedestrian quad, as well as the eventual replacement of three campus buildings (Chadderton Laboratory, McDowell Hall, and the Physical Therapy Building) with new and expanded state-of-the-art facilities.

Although no student housing is available at Penn State Shenango, a new apartment building (The Lofts at Centre City) is slated to open across from Sharon Hall in the spring of 2011, providing a crucial link between the campus and the downtown business district of Sharon.


Penn State–Shenango intramural sports include: men's golf, flag football, basketball, volleyball, and tennis.


The Shenango campus consists of ten educational and support buildings, including:

  • Sharon Hall (built 1928) The primary classroom and office building on campus houses administration, faculty offices, computer labs, classroom space, and the Great Hall student center.
  • Lecture Hall (built 1904) Includes campus admissions and financial aid offices, classroom space, and faculty offices. A glass atrium connecting Sharon and Lecture halls was constructed in 2006.
  • Science Building (built 1968) Includes faculty offices and science classrooms.
  • Forker Laboratory (built 1972) Science labs, classroom space, and the Forum, a large classroom used for lectures and events is located here. It is connected to the Science Building.
  • Chadderton Laboratory A former office building now used to house Engineering offices and laboratory space. This building will eventually be demolished and replaced with new facilities per the Penn State Shenango master plan.
  • McDowell Hall Houses the campus bookstore and the campus learning center. This building will eventually be demolished and replaced with new facilities per the Penn State Shenango master plan.
  • Lartz Memorial Library Originally housing a commercial laundry, and then a local steelworkers union hall, the Library was renovated in 1996 and houses the campus library collections, study areas, a classroom, and a computer lab.
  • Physical Therapy Laboratory Another former office building now houses the Physical Therapy program and the local Penn State extension office. This building will eventually be demolished and replaced with new facilities per the Penn State Shenango master plan.
  • Penn State Theatre (Auditorium) (built 1928) The former Auditorium of the Sharon Central School District, now used for large gatherings including commencement, concerts, and the Penn State Lecture Series. A multi-phase renovation project began in 2008.
  • Maintenance Building Houses campus maintenance department and services.

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Coordinates: 41°14′06″N 80°30′32″W / 41.234954°N 80.508993°W / 41.234954; -80.508993