Yena K. Han

Smeal College of Business Building
University Park, PA

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Building Statistics



Building Name: Smeal College of Business Building

Location: University Park, PA

Occupants: The Pennsylvania State University: Smeal College of Business

Occupancy: Academic (education/research)

Size: 210,000 SF

Total Levels: Four levels above grade, one level below grade

Primary Team:

Project Cost: $68,000,000 (overall)

Dates of Construction: July 2003 – July 2005

Project Delivery Method: Construction Management at Risk



The Smeal College of Business Building, more commonly referred to as simply the Business Building, is a research and educational facility at the Pennsylvania State University that was designed to bring the university’s undergraduate and graduate (MBA) business programs together under one roof. Aside from the spaces typical of a post-secondary education building, such as conference rooms, offices, and study rooms, the facility also serves as a learning tool in itself by fostering a real-world professional atmosphere. Notable spaces include interview rooms, research laboratories, and a large upscale café. The lower levels house the instructional and more public spaces, whereas the upper levels house the administrative, faculty, and departmental offices.

The general shape of the building follows the arc of the Meadow, a curved greensward just outside the atrium’s main wall, but the overall plan of the building can be described as two rectilinear areas that are connected at the center, both horizontally and vertically, by an open four-story lobby and a three-story bridge. The glazed atrium faces true-north and serves as the building’s primary gathering and circulation space. The undergraduate wing, the larger of the two L-shaped wings that flank the lobby, lies north of the smaller MBA wing, which also houses the café. Some of the café’s seating extends outdoors onto a southern terrace area.

Major Nation Model Codes:

Zoning: Code of the Township of College, PA – University Planned District

Historical Requirements: University Park Master Plan

Building Envelope:
The exterior cladding conforms to that of the university’s master plan; the two main wings are mostly red brick with limestone accents; the lobby space, more specifically the foyer and the atrium, are of metal and glass.



The official ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the Smeal College of Business Building was held on October 31, 2003. Construction finished in July 2005 and the building was officially dedicated on September 20, 2005. The construction manager was Gilbane Building Co. of State College, PA who, as defined by the Construction Management at Risk project delivery method, was also the constructor.


Normal and emergency power is provided by Penn State's campus electrical distribution system. These medium-voltages are then reduced to low-voltage levels (480-277 V) for distribution within the Business Building by its three primary transformers, one oil-filled exterior transformer for normal power, and two interior dry-type transformers for emergency and stand-by power. Additional transformers are located throughout the building to step the voltage down even further as necessary.

The Business Building's emergency power is provided by tapping into the campus Life Safety grid at manhole EMH-304. This emergency electricity is generated by Penn State's West Campus Steam Plant, which has the ability to operate autonomously when utility power is lost. If normal power does become unavailable, the building loads are then shifted from the normal to the emergency feeders by two automatic transfer switches, ATS-EM (150 A) and ATS-LR (400 A). All emergency branch circuit conductors run in conduits that are separate from all other wiring.

Emergency exit signs as well as fire alarm strobes are provided where required by code. Some of the emergency lighting is provided by normal luminaires by way of lighting transfer panels; when normal power is lost, these transfer panels will switch those luminaires designated for emergency lighting from their normal panelboards to emergency panelboards. However, the branch circuits for emergency egress lighting in all egress spaces, including corridors, stairwells, and lobbies, are connected to the life safety panels and are constantly on with no toggle switch control unless required, which then would have bypass relays integrated into those fixtures.

The Business Building is predominantly lit with fluorescent fixtures, which are generally hidden within the architecture except in the cafe where decorative pendants help add aesthetic appeal to the space. Adjustable track lights hidden within the perimeter of the atrium provide most of the ambient lighting for the atrium, in addition to compact fluorescent downlights at the corridors, a custom continuous lensed cold cathode fixture at the central staircase, and a wall-mounted linear fluorescent wall washer at the etched glass donor wall. Linear fluorescent troffers and compact fluorescent downlights provide most of the ambient lighting in the classrooms with fluorescent perimeter wallslots at the sides. The cafe uses downlights in addition to the decorative pendants, and also has fiber optic downlights within the decorative colored glass walls that divide the servery from the seating area. The terrace is lit with compact fluorescent bollards and halogen steplights.

The classroom is controlled by a preset architectural dimming controls system whereas all the other spaces are controlled by the building's central automated controls system.

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This Page was last updated on September 16, 2008 , By Yena K. Han and is hosted by the AE Department ©2005