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University in Harrisburg, Pa., scales back plans for downtown high rise

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology plans smaller building without student housing or parking garage.

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology has scaled back its plans to build a high-rise facility in downtown Harrisburg, Pa.

The Central Penn Business Journal reports that University President Eric Darr says that instead of a 36-story building, the university is looking at a tower of 18 to 25 floors.

The plans still call for a health science education center and a 200-room hotel and conference center with a restaurant, but no longer include student housing or a public parking garage.

"Economically, student housing doesn't work," Darr says. "Frankly, there are other buildings in Harrisburg that work better, and it would serve the city better to rehab them (for housing)."

A parking garage was eliminated from the plan because the city's existing garages have room to accommodate students, faculty and visitors, Darr says. Construction is still expected to exceed $100 million.

The university has hired architect Alex Wing of Stantec to design the facility. The goal is to have financing in place by May or June 2019 and break ground by July 2019.

Construction is expected to take about two years and the facility could open by summer 2021.

The new tower is expected to have educational space to serve at least 1,000 new students, Darr said.

Harrisburg University could approach total enrollment of about 7,000 undergraduate, transfer and graduate students between its Harrisburg campus and its Philadelphia branch.

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