Allegheny College marks start of Reis Hall renovation | News

The planned start of a multimillion-dollar renovation to one of Allegheny College’s historic and iconic buildings kicked off Tuesday with a ceremonial indoor groundbreaking.

Renovations to Reis Hall, dormant since the fall of 2018, will begin in the coming months to transform it into the new Phil St. Moritz Center for Innovation at Reis Hall.

Reis Hall was Allegheny College’s library building from 1902 until 1976 when its Lawrence Pelletier Library opened.

Reis Hall then was administrative offices, housing the college’s counseling center, registrar and informational services, and other departments. Reis was shut down in 2018 when Allegheny began renovations to Bentley Hall, its main administrative building.

An estimated $15 million to $20 million total project, Reis Hall is slated to open at the start of the 2026-27 academic year. The estate of the late Phil St. Moritz, a 1961 Allegheny graduate, donated $5 million toward the project earlier this year.

The center will be home to the Allegheny Lab for Innovation and Creativity, housing advanced manufacturing and robotics/automation labs and materials research facilities to design and build prototypes.

In addition, it will be home to Allegheny’s computer and information science degree programs in software engineering, data science and informatics — which is the science of processing data for retrieval and storage.

The center’s role is to put students and faculty together to develop creative solutions and ideas for both old and new problems, Angela Haddad, provost and chief academic officer at Allegheny, said during midday ceremonies held in Schultz Hall’s banquet facilities.

“With this new center, Allegheny College distinguishes itself as an institutional leader illustrating how a liberal arts education effectively anticipates the transformation of traditional occupations, and prepares graduates for careers that haven’t even been imagined yet,” Haddad said. “A pragmatic and visible depiction of the connection between career outcomes, a life of meaning and the liberal arts.”

Ron Cole, Allegheny’s president, said it’s fitting the Phil Moritz Center for Innovation will be in Reis Hall. Reis is located in the center of campus with two other historic Allegheny buildings — Bentley Hall and Brooks Hall.

The new center will enable academic excellence with innovation, resulting in a vibrant campus, “and being a part of the community and economic development of this greater Meadville region,” Cole said.

“This center will show how Allegheny is at the forefront of intersecting liberal arts education with emerging technologies,” he added. “Reis will be as bold as Phil St. Moritz was in his vision of making and impact.”

In addition to the $5 million donation through the Moritz estate, a $2 million grant was obtained through the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program as well as other donations to Allegheny.