Pottsville CollegeTowne initiative takes first step
Alvernia University expands by returning to downtown Pottsville after entering into a letter of intent agreement for a location on Progress Avenue as the genesis for the Pottsville CollegeTowne strategy. The site is the former Giant grocery store, located at 500 Progress Avenue.
“Partnerships and collaborations over the past several months with city, county, state, federal government and community leaders have brought us to this spectacular win-win situation,” said Alvernia University President John R. Loyack. “This is what the CollegeTowne strategy is all about—everyone working together for the common good of the community.”
Alvernia serves as a strategic enabler in the Pottsville CollegeTowne model, including engagement, a student-centered business incubator, academic programming and buildings that will enhance the student experience for current and incoming students.
“We are working with our outstanding faculty to provide innovative learning spaces throughout the building,” said Alvernia University Senior Vice President and Provost Glynis Fitzgerald. “The projects we pursue today will allow us to provide an unparalleled experience for the next generation of Alvernia students in the greater Schuylkill County region.”
Alvernia’s O’Pake Institute will partner Schuylkill Campus students with regional entrepreneurs, small-business owners, faculty researchers and industry leaders to enhance economic development in the region.
"Through our Fellows Program, our best and brightest students will use their time, interest and experience to support the Pottsville community economically through hands-on distinctive experiential learning opportunities,” said Alvernia University Vice President, Interim Dean of STEAM and Chief Operating Officer of the O’Pake institute Rodney Ridley. “We look forward to partnering with those from the Pottsville Development Court, Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce, among others, to help our students and the Pottsville community thrive.”
In the coming months, Alvernia will work toward a purchase and sale agreement of the location.
"We sincerely thank Alvernia University for their confidence in continuing their Catholic educational mission in Schuylkill County and soon in the City of Pottsville,” said Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robert Carl. “On behalf of the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce and our 767 members, we congratulate you and pledge our support and partnership moving forward.
Alvernia is uniquely positioned and prepared to lead the Pottsville CollegeTowne initiative and plans to enlist other organizations and businesses such as the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce and Pottsville Development Court to partner together to breathe new life and vitality into downtown Pottsville.
“Alvernia picked Pottsville, and we couldn’t be happier they did,” said Pottsville Area Development Corp Executive Director Savas Logothetides. “How appropriate that we hold today’s announcement on Progress Avenue because Alvernia picked Pottsville because of our progress, leadership and their shared vision for our community.”
The university launched the CollegeTowne initiative in Reading in late 2019. Since its launch, Alvernia purchased a downtown location and launched a $20 million renovation and retrofitting project that has spurred six other development projects in empty or abandoned buildings that is resulted in nearly 1,000,000 sq ft of transformation in the downtown corridor.