– A Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant for $1 million for Elizabethtown College was approved by the Wolf administration on Tuesday, said Rep. Dave Hickernell (R-Lancaster/Dauphin).
These Commonwealth grant funds will be used to help pay for the construction of a new sports, fitness and wellness center on campus to help provide students and the community with an enhanced health and wellness experience as well as attract new students to the college.
“When the college approached me to support this grant request several years ago, I saw the value in building a new fitness and training facility. As an alumnus of E-Town College, I can testify that while the current Thompson Gym served me and my classmates well, it is time for an upgrade.”
Thompson Gym was built in 1968, and it originally supported 10 teams, 200 athletes, and 1,442 students. Today it supports 22 teams, 400-plus athletes and 1,636 students. If the college loses prospective students to colleges that have better athletic, wellness, and fitness facilities, then student population decreases and college employment and spending decrease, negatively affecting the local economy.
Hickernell, who is also the chairman of the House Education Committee, noted that a student’s health and academic performance are closely linked.
“Studies have documented what teachers, parents and education leaders have known for a long time: healthy students are better able to focus in class, which ultimately leads to higher test scores and overall higher classroom achievement,” Hickernell said. “I also want to thank Sen. Ryan Aument, who supported this request because he recognized the educational and economic benefit of the project.”
“Elizabethtown College is committed to providing our students with the facilities they need to maintain a healthy body and mind,” said Elizabethtown College President Carl J. Strikwerda. “This project, which has been in the works for several years, will also have an economic multiplier effect, generating and helping sustain economic activity in our region. We appreciate the support of the Commonwealth and the recognition that this project is important for both our college community and the Elizabethtown area as a whole.”
The entire project is expected to cost $3.7 million and add several new good-paying jobs at the college.
Representative Dave Hickernell
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Charles Lardner