Behrend’s Federal House finds new life with $6.6 million renovation

For a long time, it sat vacant and unused along the eastern edge of Penn State Behrend‘s campus in Harborcreek Township.

Though the township’s oldest brick dwelling — created in 1838 — crumbled outdoors, squirrels scattered walnuts within. In earlier periods, the setting up that Behrend dubbed Federal Dwelling experienced been a stagecoach end and a safe and sound residence on the Underground Railroad.

Now, 34 many years immediately after Larry and Kathryn Smith donated the house to Behrend, the 184-12 months-outdated framework has a new appear and a new goal.

The newly expanded section of the Federal House is shown with the older structure in the back, on June 6, 2022, at the eastern end of the Penn State Behrend campus in Harborcreek Township.The Federal House is undergoing a multi-million expansion and improvement.

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Adhering to a $6.6 million restoration and expansion, the property exactly where cobbler Thomas Bonnell and his spouse Eva elevated nine small children is now the household of the Susan Hirt Hagen Heart for Community Outreach, Exploration, and Evaluation or C.O.R.E.

Named for and endowed by the late Susan Hirt Hagen, a extensive-time board member of Erie Coverage, which was co-founded by her father, H.O. Hirt, C.O.R.E. was fashioned in 1998 to address problems about teenager pregnancy in Erie County.

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New creating, broader mission

The mission has been expanded together with the setting up, explained James Hodge, an assistant professor of psychology and director of C.O.R.E.

The method, which had been situated in a ranch-design and style household on Jordan Street, has moved into a new headquarters fashioned by the marriage of that 19-century brick residence with a modern day metal-and-glass construction to develop an 11,000,square-foot intricate.

The old Federal House and the new expansion are shown, on June 6, 2022, at the eastern end of the Penn State Behrend campus in Harborcreek Township. The Federal House is undergoing a multi-million expansion and improvement.

Erie Coverage Chairman Thomas Hagen, whose late wife endowed the application, joined forces with Penn State Behrend to fund the renovation and growth.

Behrend Chancellor Ralph Ford stated Hagen asked that no particulars be presented about the correct sum of his contribution.

“He was the key donor on this challenge,” Ford mentioned. “Without his help and with out his vision it would not have occurred.”

First floor office room of the newly expanded section of the Federal House is shown, on June 6, 2022, at the eastern end of the Penn State Behrend campus in Harborcreek Township. The Federal House is undergoing a multi-million expansion and improvement.

Hagen not only supplied funding, he supplied the concept, Ford explained.

“The setting up has sat right here on campus and we have been on the lookout for a use for it for in excess of 30 several years,” Ford claimed. “We had imagined about it prior to he approached us, but we did not have the right eyesight.”

Ford stated he likes that the constructing is one particular of the 1st items motorists see as they pass by on the Bayfront Connector. He also likes what the software says about a campus typically identified for its engineering and enterprise systems.

“It usually means a large amount,” Ford stated. “It can be 1 of individuals fantastic projects that has been terrific from beginning to conclusion. This highlights the wonderful operate that is becoming performed by the Susan Hirt Hagen C.O.R.E. Heart.”

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The Federal House conference room is shown, on June 6, 2022. The Federal House, at the eastern end of the Penn State Behrend campus in Harborcreek Township,  is undergoing a multi-million expansion and improvement. A portrait of Tom Hagen benefactor of the project and chairman of Erie Inurance, hangs in the background.

Crucial to the family

Hagen, whose portrait hangs in the conference area, claimed he stands by the program’s mission.

“It is really been crucial to our family and to my wife, who was definitely the founder of it,” Hagen said. “It was anything that was pretty close to and expensive to her. It’s genuinely blossomed in excess of the many years considering that.”

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James Hodge, director of Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Community Outreach, Research, and Evaluation or C.O.R.E. shows at the newly expanded section of the Federal House, on June 6, 2022, at the eastern end of the Penn State Behrend campus in Harborcreek Township. The Federal House is undergoing a multi-million expansion and improvement.

Nowadays, C.O.R.E. is centered on a broader mission, to analyze and establish “issues that youth need to expand up and operate at a significant amount,” Hodge stated.

That’s performed as a result of mentoring systems in Erie County middle and superior colleges.

In most scenarios, “We acquire the exhibit on the road. We have college districts that will sign up and we will publish a year’s truly worth of curriculum to mentor students,” Hodge explained.