Penn State Brandywine student union builing

A behind-the-scenes look at ‘Building Brandywine’

There’s much more than meets the eye when it comes to constructing Penn State Brandywine’s first residence hall and new student union building.

By: Michael McDade
As Penn State Brandywine nears the halfway point in the construction of its first residence hall and new student union building, hundreds of architects, laborers, masons, carpenters and steel workers are behind the scenes bringing the buildings to life.
Building Brandywine

Building Brandywine

Penn State Brandywine is currently building its first residence hall and a new student union building. The two buildings are scheduled to open in August 2017.

Mockups of the residence hall and student union building have been constructed to assess structural components before the actual buildings are complete. 

Building Mockups

Kenneth Matthews, senior project manager at C.B. Development Services, Inc., said that a critical step in the project’s process is constructing building mockups with the exact materials that will be used in the residence hall and student union building. This helps identify potential issues prior to constructing the actual buildings.

Michael McDade

With a total of 15,000 labor hours, more than 240 tons of steel has been erected for the student union building, and 850 cubic yards of concrete has been poured.

Penn State Brandywine student union builing

Student Union

The student union is a two-story, 31,000-square-foot building that will include a dining hall with seating for more than 300 students, student recreation areas, the campus bookstore, conference space and student affairs offices. 

Image: Michael McDade

To date, 50 tons of rebar has been set and more than 825 cubic yards of concrete has been poured in the residence hall.

Penn State Brandywine residence hall

Residence Hall

The residence hall is a four-story, 73,000-square-foot building that will house 254 students and will also include student recreation space.

Image: Michael McDade

Steel cables are fastened throughout the structures to keep them from shifting during construction. 

Penn State Brandywine student union builing

Steel Cables

Steel cables keep the buildings plumb during construction.

Image: Michael McDade
More on Penn State Brandywine

Penn State Brandywine is located just 20 miles west of Philadelphia and enrolls approximately 1,500 students. The campus offers two associate degrees, 12 baccalaureate degrees and the first two years of more than 150 additional baccalaureate degrees that can be completed at another Penn State campus. In addition, the campus offers internships, undergraduate research opportunities, international study programs and varsity sports.