Bridge West, UC Projects Progress to Design Phase

Renovation of the iconic University Center and construction of a new Bridge West Residence Hall on the Asa Packer campus are progressing to the design phase.

Lehigh’s Board of Trustees recently approved the step as the university continues on its “Path to Prominence,” which will bring 1,000 more undergraduates to campus over the next seven years, 500 more graduate students and 100 new faculty. The plan, outlined by President John D. Simon, also will broaden Lehigh’s academic footprint as the university establishes a new college of health and strengthens its research activities.

University Architect Brent Stringfellow said the Bridge West Residence Hall will replace the existing Trembley Park houses. Configured as semi-suites, it will provide 750 new beds for undergraduates, which will be a net increase of 550 beds, he said.

The new residence hall, which will be designed by Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Massachusetts, will include flexible public spaces to support student gatherings and activities and enhance community life, such as eating, studying and fitness.  It will primarily house first- and second-year students.

Lehigh anticipates opening Bridge West South by fall 2020, and Bridge West North by fall 2021.

The University Center project, which will be designed by Shepley Bullfinch Architects of Boston, Massachusetts, will include renovation of the original 1868 building, known as Packer Hall, the demolition of the 1958 addition, and the design of a new addition on the south side of the original structure, Stringfellow said.

The University Center will have spaces for dining, conferences, student activities and organizations, and common spaces for students to gather informally. The renovation will increase the size of the University Center by 30 percent.

Stringfellow said the site and landscape designs for both Bridge West and the University Center will be integrated to provide an expansive new asset for residential living at Lehigh. He said the improvements are expected to have a fundamental impact on the campus experience by creating accessible and welcoming connections between academic and residential neighborhoods on the Asa Packer Campus. 

At the conclusion of the design phase, the Bridge West Residence Hall and University Center projects will need additional approval from Lehigh’s Board of Trustees to move to construction. 

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