Skanska awarded $70M contract from Lehigh University to redevelop historic Clayton University Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Press release 7/24/2023 7:00 AM EST
(Rendering credit: Shepley Bullfinch)

BETHLEHEM, PA – Skanska, a leading global construction and development firm, today announced it has been awarded a $70M contract by Lehigh University to comprehensively redevelop its historic Clayton University Center located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“We’re proud to partner with Lehigh University and to be playing an integral role within the renovation of the historic Clayton University Center, the first building built on the University’s campus,” said Todd Lofgren, executive vice president and general manager of Skanska’s Greater Philadelphia building operations. “With our skilled and diverse workforce, we’re able to preserve the integrity of the original building while ensuring its longevity for the generations to come.”

"Skanska is a valued partner as we undertake the renovation of this important building on Lehigh's campus," said Lehigh University Vice President for Strategic Planning and Initiatives Chris Cook. "With thoughtful design, we are breathing new life into the Clayton University Center, creating a fully functional space that will serve as a physical center for meaningful connections, idea exchange, and the cultivation of a strong campus community. We eagerly anticipate the transformation of this building into a vibrant hub at the heart of our campus, fostering community engagement, collaboration and growth."

The 24-month project will encompass both the renovation and preservation of the existing Clayton University Center, while maintaining the historic nuances of the building. Key project elements include the delivery of utility upgrades, inclusive of new electrical service, mechanical systems and equipment, as well as the installation of a full fire protection system. Gathering spaces, offices, meeting rooms and lounge areas will undergo renovations and all doors, windows and the slate and copper roofing systems will be replaced. The historic millwork and wood paneling, stained-glass windows and the building’s stone exterior facing the north lawn will all be preserved during this project.

Skanska will incorporate multiple emerging technologies on this project that are specifically suited towards preserving and reconstructing historical spaces. One of which includes the use of laser scanning that will allow for a non-contact method of surveying the 100-plus-year-old building. The captured 3D data will provide the requisite analysis and visualization to ensure the historical structures are restored accurately and the architectural features are preserved. In addition, Building Information Modeling (BIM) will be utilized to enable the comprehensive planning, coordination, and visualization of as-built conditions, which will optimize the efficiency and accuracy of the project.

In line with both Lehigh’s continuous dedication to promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity (DI&E) and Skanska’s commitment to supplier diversity to better engage minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBE), the two entities have partnered to host two supplier diversity outreach events for this project. Already conducted, the two events entailed discussions on what diversity and inclusion looks like within the construction industry and provided information on the project's upcoming procurement and bidding opportunities.

Renovation work began in December of 2022.