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BETHLEHEM, PA-Moravian College and Bethlehem Area Moravians, Inc. broke ground on the centerpiece building of a $25 million project in downtown Bethlehem. The 100,000-sf building on the college’s Priscilla Payne Hurd campus will house classrooms, suite-style student dormitories and a new cafeteria.

The project was made possible by a partnership between Moravian College and BAM, a nonprofit organization that operates a number of charitable programs in the Bethlehem area.

Under the agreement between the college and BAM, BAM will lease the land for the project from Moravian College and finance, construct, own and operate the new building through Moravian College Housing Inc., a wholly owned nonprofit corporation. The college will provide administrative support services as well as custodial and ground services and maintenance on the building. Moravian College will also invest in the interior spaces and in building furnishings and equipment. Students living in the new building will rent their rooms from BAM.

“This is an exciting opportunity for two Moravian institutions to work together,” says David Roth, general manager of BAM in a press release. “The college and BAM have focused their individual strengths to create what I believe will be a beautiful addition to the campus and the City of Bethlehem.”

When complete, the six-storey structure will feature rooms for 230 students, four 40-seat classrooms, a computer lounge, a new dining hall and a wellness center.

“Right now, there’s a much smaller number of students living in the downtown area of the campus, and those are primarily art and music students,” Michael Wilson, director of public relations and marketing for Moravian College tells GlobeSt.com. “We anticipate that this new building will be very attractive to a new variety of students who traditionally lived on our Main Street campus and will now live in the downtown. It’ll add to the downtown neighborhood and increase business and adding vitality.”

The architecture firm of Hemmler and Camayd of Scranton were tasked with designing the new building. Alvin H. Butz, Inc. is responsible for the construction. The building is scheduled for completion by August 2009.

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