Dr. Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Albright president, explained to City Council at its committee whole meeting Monday, March 22, about the renovations coming to the former Camp Hosiery building.
The 1928-building next to Shirk Stadium will become the home to the school’s Science Research Institute and music industry and fashion programs “creating a whole center for innovation and creativity right here in northeast Reading,” Fetrow said.
Working with local Reading AEM Architects, Albright College and the Science Research Institute located on Albright’s campus, are moving forward with plans to renovate the spacious building (located at 1801 N 12th Street in Reading) into a state-of-the-art facility optimized for experiential learning, elite training, technological exploration and community engagement.
When the renovations are completed, the college would be the only one in the nation that would have advanced laboratory spaces with scientific capability that is built specifically to be safe for middle and high schools students.
Slated to be completed in June 2022, the Science Research Institute Camp Building renovation will include 25,000 square feet of state-of-the-art science and technology laboratory and research spaces — designed to create an environment that encourages innovation, complemented by access to research-grade equipment, exposure to cutting-edge technology, and introductions to modern sciences by skilled mentors.
Later phases will expand Science Research Institute’s footprint within the building and add spaces that support some of Albright College’s most creative and innovative programs and STEAM disciplines, for more synergistic SRI collaborations. These projections include a flexible theater performance area, classrooms, laboratories and studio spaces for music industry studies, fashion merchandising, and digital communications.
The Science Research Institute (SRI) is a framework for integrating research-based learning in all disciplines. SRI serves as an educational philosophy rather than strictly a physical program. The foundation of this educational philosophy is involving students in their own education, providing a framework for the students to bring their own creativity and innovation to their work right from the beginning. SRI students are provided with skills-based and authentic learning experiences that improve their research skills as well as literacy, communication and entrepreneurial thinking.
First launched at Conrad Weiser High School (2015) as the sole fully functioning high school histology laboratory in the United States, SRI enrollment rose an amazing 817% over five years, quickly outgrowing its facility.
SRI at Albright offers state-of-the-art scientific summer and after-school programming to middle-and high-school students, who learn to function in a high-level scientific research setting while preparing for college and graduate-level research.
Currently, more than 80 organizations are partnering with SRI — spanning businesses, scientific industry groups, higher education, professional organizations and foundations.