Campus and Facilities
Description of the Campus
West Chester University’s campus is a unique mixture of 19th century collegiate Gothic and contemporary architectural styles. Eighty-one buildings, comprising more than 7 million square feet, are specially landscaped within 406 acres of rolling countryside. The distinctive buildings and magnificent old trees make the campus one of the aesthetic treasures of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Approaching West Chester Borough from the south, the University stretches westward from High Street and provides a gateway to the borough. The Academic Quadrangle serves as a landmark surrounded by the University’s oldest buildings – Philips Memorial Building, Recitation Hall, Anderson Hall, Ruby Jones Hall, and the Old Library. Three of these buildings are constructed of the green-hued serpentine stone that has given West Chester a particular character for more than a century. Over the ensuing decades, the University expanded to the west and south to include residence halls, science and athletic facilities, a dining facility, and general academic buildings. The focal point of student leisure life outside the classroom is the Sykes Student Union, which includes a movie theater, a food court, a computer center, meeting rooms, and lounges.
A dynamic, ongoing building program that began in the 1990s has resulted in upgrades and additions to the Schmucker Science Center, improved campus-wide computer technology, renovations and restorations to three historic quadrangle buildings, and the reopening of the Philips Memorial Building, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, and Philips Autograph Library. The acquisition and completion of the Graduate Center, which is located five miles from the main campus, houses the graduate School of Business and College of Education.
The University’s learning environment continued to keep pace with students’ needs into the 21st century with the completion of the dramatic new Swope Music Building and the Performing Arts Center, which includes the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre; the renovation of the academic building at 25 University Avenue to house the departments of Mathematics and Computer Science, and the offices of the Bursar, Registrar, and Financial Aid; and the renovation and expansion of the E.O. Bull Center to consolidate visual and performing arts. The auxiliary components of the student experience have also undergone significant transformations with the construction of an addition to the Lawrence Dining Center, offering both traditional and fast-food formats; the construction of four new suite-style residence high rises (University Hall, Allegheny Hall, Brandywine Hall, and Commonwealth Hall) on North Campus; the construction of The Village and East Village on South Campus, an 18-building, apartment-style residence complex; the opening of three new parking structures; and the completion of the Student Recreation Center. Designs are now underway for the next phase of the building program to include renovations of several academic buildings including Mitchell Hall, which will house the Department of Languages and Cultures, English as a Second Language program of study, and the Center for International Programs, as well as the construction of the Business and Public Affairs Center. A recently installed geothermal well field will provide energy-efficient “green” heating and cooling to the new residence halls and several existing academic buildings, and is targeted for expansion over the next 10 years to incorporate most of the remaining buildings on campus.
Traveling south three-quarters of a mile from the original campus, the visitor will discover the South Campus area, located on a 300-acre expanse of gently rolling Chester County countryside, which includes apartment complexes housing more than 1,000 students and features the Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center, a nationally acclaimed teaching, performance, and research facility. Surrounding the center are tennis courts, two new multipurpose artificial turf fields, and Farrell Stadium, which has the same artificial turf as used by professional football teams. Also at South Campus is the 79-acre Gordon Natural Area, which includes woodlands, fields, and a streamside habitat. This area has been conserved as a research and teaching resource for the natural sciences.
From the archway of learning at the Philips Memorial Building to the hiking trails of the Gordon Natural Area, the visitor will find a rich tradition of educational excellence and a diverse variety of facilities in which to learn, live, and recreate.
The information Services Division provides computing, information, and network services to the entire campus community. In addition to supporting many college and department-specific student computing labs, the Academic Computing Center on the ground floor of Anderson Hall serves as the focal point for instructional computing activity and manages public student labs totaling more than 200 workstations. The labs, which post their open hours on the web (https://www.wcupa.edu/infoServices/helpSupport.aspx), have consultants on duty to assist students. All computers support general-purpose applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, and database management systems (Microsoft Office suite) plus course-specific software such as SPSS, SAS, Minitab, Mathematica, Quark, and others. Many software packages are also available to the campus community by Virtual Applications (VDI) solution, which provides faculty, staff, and students web-enabled access to data and applications on any device anywhere (on or off campus). The computer labs also provide access to printers, digitizers, and optical scanners. Student laboratory facilities are also located in Sykes Student Union. Information Services provides many resources and services to promote the use of technology in the teaching and learning environment. More than 150 classrooms are equipped with presentation technologies. For further information contact the IT Help Desk at 610-436-3350.
The WCU Geology Museum in the Schmucker Science Link displays specimens from collections of historic and scientific importance. The museum is unique in the U.S. because University students who are majors in the Department of Geology and Astronomy have created each exhibit. These exhibits use minerals, rocks, and fossils from around the world drawn from notable 19th and 20th century collectors who lived in Chester County, including William Yocom, William Brinton, Hugh McKinstry, and Ruth Bass. Each exhibit highlights an interesting topic about minerals and rocks. Students can explore electricity and magnetism in minerals using an interactive display; discover how Chester County rocks have been mined and used for hundreds of years; find the beauty of fluorescent minerals under ultraviolet light, from the extensive collection of John Stolar, Sr.; and explore ancient life through the marine creatures preserved along waterways. The museum is free and open to the public Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters, and is open by appointment during summer and winter sessions. Please contact the Department of Geology and Astronomy at 610-436-2727 for more information or to make an appointment.
The Department of Geology and Astronomy operates the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Planetarium, located in the Schmucker Science Center. The planetarium is equipped with a state-of-the-art SciDome XD Touch digital projector and a 32-foot nanoseam dome, manufactured by Spitz, Inc.. The planetarium is used for WCU astronomy classes, about 50 Pre-K– 12 school groups, and public programs each year. Annual attendance approaches 2,000.During the regular academic year, monthly shows highlighting the seasonal night sky and a special theme are given by a Ph.D. astronomer, and twice-monthly astronomy-themed movies are shown for the general public. These are specially formatted for the planetarium dome, providing an impressive and immersive experience that is both educational and entertaining. Programs are made possible by funding from the WCU College of Arts and Sciences, admissions fees, and generous donations from WCU faculty, staff, alumni, and the public. For more information or to join the e-mail list, see http://www.wcupa.edu/sciences-mathematics/earthSpaceSciences/forms/information.aspx/.
The Department of Geology and Astronomy operates the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Planetarium, located in the Schmucker Science Center. The planetarium is equipped with a state-of-the-art SciDome XD Touch digital projector and a 32-foot nanoseam dome, manufactured by Spitz, Inc. The planetarium is used for WCU astronomy classes, about 50 PreK – 12 school groups, and public programs each year. Annual attendance approaches 2,000. During the regular academic year, monthly shows highlighting the seasonal night sky and a special theme are given by a Ph.D. astronomer, and twice-monthly, astronomy-themed movies are shown for the general public. These are specially formatted for the planetarium dome, providing an impressive and immersive experience that is both educational and entertaining. Programs are made possible by funding from the WCU College of Arts and Sciences, admissions fees, and generous donations from WCU faculty, staff, alumni, and the public. For more information or to join the e-mail list, see http://www.wcupa.edu/sciences-mathematics/earthSpaceSciences/forms/information.aspx/.
The Darlington Herbarium, housed in Schmucker Science Center, is one of the most highly regarded historical collections of dried plant specimens in the East. Among the 20,000 specimens are plants collected by such famous explorers and botanists as Captain John Fremont, Thomas Nuttall, Sir William Hooker, C.S. Rafinesque, and George Englemann. More than 200 collectors from America's formative years of 1820 to 1850 are represented. The herbarium was the work of Dr. William Darlington (1782-1863), a member of the West Chester Cabinet of Science. Dr. Darlington was eminent in West Chester as a physician, educator, banker, businessman, historian, and botanist. His plants, however, were his first love. A state park has been established in northern California to preserve a rare species of insectivorous plant named in his honor - Darlingtonia.
Robert B. Gordon Natural Area for Environmental Studies
The University has conserved 100 acres of natural woodland and field and stream-side habitat located on South Campus and uses it for several kinds of field studies in the natural sciences. Dedicated in 1973, the area was named for Robert B. Gordon, faculty member and chairperson of the University's Department of Science from 1938 to 1963.
West Chester University has two libraries, the Francis Harvey Green Library, at the corner of High Street and Rosedale Avenue, and the Presser Music Library, 121 Swope Music Building and the Performing Arts Center. Both libraries offer excellent environments for study and research. Library collections compare favorably with other major public and private libraries in the region. Total library holdings include more than four million items:
- More than 760,000 print volumes
- More than 1,400 print subscriptions
- More than 11,000 films, videos, and DVDs
- More than 56,000 sound recordings
- More than 649,000 electronic books
- More than 5,600 electronic journal subscriptions
- More than 2.2 million art images
- More than 138,000 albums of streaming audio
- More than 25,000 scores
- Full text of articles from more than 78,000 journals through licensed databases
- More than 926,000 microfilms, microfiche, and microcards
The library’s website, http://www. wcupa.edu/library, provides continually updated access to a wide array of resources and services with links to the library’s catalog, databases, electronic reserves, library services and hours, and OneSearch. OneSearch provides a single, Google-like interface to search the vast majority of materials owned and licensed by WCU Library Services. OneSearch and library databases are available on any computer with Internet access. WCU faculty, students, and staff not using a computer on the WCU campus network must enter their WCU ID and password to gain access to many library resources. The library also has a mobile interface, http://subjectguides.wcupa.edu/mobile/1361, allowing access to many library resources and services on smartphones and tablets. Books and articles not owned or licensed by WCU Library Services may be requested online using interlibrary loan services, including ILLiad and PALCI EZBorrow. Special interlibrary loan services are available to students who do not take classes on the main campus including distance education and those who are at other locations, such as the Graduate Center or the Philadelphia Campus. There is no charge for interlibrary loan.
Special holdings in the Green Library include the Chester County Collection of Scientific and Historical Books, the Normal Collection (publications by faculty and alumni), and the Stanley Weintraub Center for the Study of Arts and Humanities. Important rare books include The Biographies of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence by John Sanderson and the first four Folios of Shakespeare. Also worthy of note are the collections of children’s literature, instructional media, and the Philips Autographed Library in Philips Memorial Building.
Francis Harvey Green Library
The Green Library is the main library on campus. Key library services include reference (in-person, text, telephone, chat, and e-mail), library instruction, electronic reserves, interlibrary loan, wireless laptops for use in the library, and access to scanners and coin-operated photocopiers and microform copiers. Most articles requested on interlibrary loan are delivered by e-mail. Most books and other physical material requested on interlibrary loan from other libraries must be picked up at the Green Library. Questions regarding library materials and services should be directed to the Green Library Reference Desk, 610-436-2435, email@example.com.
There is a Starbucks on the first (ground) floor of the Green Library with an exterior entrance from the Quad and an interior entrance from the library.
Presser Music Library
The Presser Music Library contains the University’s collection of print scores as well as sound recordings, music books, periodicals, and microforms. Laptops are available for in-library use, and the facility also features the latest equipment for listening to sound recordings in analog and digital formats.
The Chester County Cabinet of Natural Sciences (1826-1871) and the West Chester Academy (1811-1871) merged to form the West Chester Normal School, which evolved into West Chester University. Historical properties came to the Normal School from the Chester County Cabinet, including a grandfather's clock that belonged to Benjamin Franklin, a telescope owned by Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne, the Darlington Herbarium, and various library and museum collections. Especially notable are the letters of Anthony Wayne, including letters to Wayne from George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and others. The Wayne telescope, letters, and library collections are housed in the Francis Harvey Green Library Special Collections.
The University's permanent art collection is made up primarily of gifts from interested art patrons, senior class purchases, and gifts from the alumni. The permanent art collection is on display in buildings throughout the campus. The collection consists of a number of important works, such as the watercolor, Andress Place, by Andrew Wyeth.
Speech and Hearing Clinic
The Speech and Hearing Clinic (located at 201 Carter Drive, Suite 400) is maintained by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders to train student clinicians under the supervision of licensed, certified faculty. The clinic provides evaluation, intervention, and consultation services to individuals with speech and language disorders, communication differences, and professional communication enhancement needs, as well as comparable services to those with various hearing disorders. The clinic also provides diverse community outreach and education opportunities for individuals and institutions. Clinic services offered are complimentary for students, faculty, and staff at West Chester University, as well as for students at Cheyney University. Those outside the University community may access clinical services in accordance with a modest fee schedule. Additional information or appointments can be made through the clinic office, 610-436-3402.