Alvernia University is breaking ground for an innovative Recreation, Wellness and Health Sciences Complex, as the highlight of a new East Campus at the institution’s Reading, Pa., location. Alvernia’s Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to name the project the Tom and Helen Flynn Complex, after the university’s long-serving president and his spouse. Due to open in the fall of 2019, the Flynn PLEX is the largest, most ambitious expansion in university history, adding more than 100,000 square feet of academic, recreation and athletic space and 15 acres to campus. It will include a major academic building in addition to a fieldhouse and indoor track that will expand recreational opportunities for all students and support Alvernia’s 27 varsity athletic teams.
As a university with prominent healthcare and human services programs and a long-time commitment to the local community, Alvernia will expand its popular doctorate in physical therapy and other successful health science programs with the new facility. Expansion of those programs will significantly grow the number of Alvernia trained nurses and healthcare professionals produced each year.
“Like many of their fellow students, many of these individuals will continue to work and live in Reading and Berks County after graduating, contributing to both the local community’s civic vitality and the region’s economy, and helping to directly address a demonstrated shortage of healthcare workers in the area,” said Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn.
The Flynn PLEX will house leading-edge inter-professional education programs, designed to promote shared learning and integrative practices across a broad spectrum of healthcare and human service fields. This real world clinical approach helps students develop expertise within their individual disciplines while enhancing understanding of other fields and demonstrating the importance of teamwork and effective communications in integrated patient care.
“Site preparation for East Campus has made rapid progress since we announced the project to excited Class of 2020 students on their first day on campus,”said Flynn. “So, launching the construction of the PLEX itself is exciting. Never has the university cast such a bold vision in providing our students and community with best-in-class academic and recreation facilities.”
As the new home for Alvernia’s Doctor of Physical Therapy and athletic training programs, the Flynn PLEX will also strengthen Alvernia’s commitment to its neighboring community through free health clinics. Local high schools and clubs can also expect to access the large fieldhouse and recreation center for track meets and other indoor athletic events. Recognizing the positive regional community and economic benefit, the state authorized release of a $500,000 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant to help fund the project.
Several community leaders have stepped forward to support Flynn PLEX fundraising including Campaign Co-Chairs Michael Fromm, CEO of Fromm Electric Supply Corp., and retired investment banker Angel Helm. Honorary Co-Chairs include Tom Martell, former owner and CEO of the Hub Fabricating Corp., and his wife Marcia, a prominent community volunteer, and Joanne Judge, attorney and shareholder in the Stevens & Lee law firm and co-chairwoman of its Health Care Practice Groupand her husband Rick Oppenheimer, group chair for Vistage International, Inc.