April 30, 2021
Susquehanna University will establish a Downtown Center on Market Street to further integrate the campus community with the Borough of Selinsgrove.
“Susquehanna University has been proud to be a part of the Selinsgrove community since 1858 and we see the Downtown Center as a way to reinforce these already strong bonds,” said University President Jonathan Green. “It is our hope that this endeavor will lead to continued fruitful collaboration between our students, faculty and staff and the community members of Selinsgrove.”
The Susquehanna University Downtown Center, at 111 N. Market St., will be leased by Susquehanna from property owner Robert Grayston.
“The university is a wonderful asset to the community and this initiative will highlight Susquehanna as a pillar in downtown Selinsgrove,” said Grayston. “I am truly honored and excited to work with the university and their forward vision of Selinsgrove and the surrounding community.”
The Susquehanna University Downtown Center, will:
- Support local businesses and nonprofit organizations through the increased presence of, and partnership with, SU’s students, faculty and staff.
- Include a small SU retail space, as well as classrooms and meeting space.
- Enhance volunteer and civic participation between students and the community.
- Provide students with project-based learning opportunities in partnership with local businesses and nonprofit organizations.
- Provide a location to display student research and creative works.
- Host university-sponsored lectures, performances and guest speakers.
Plans for SU’s Downtown Center originated in part with a National Endowment for the Humanities grant-supported program, titled “Promoting Civil Discourse in a Polarized World.”
The grant supported a course led by Betsy Verhoeven, associate professor of English and creative writing, Nick Clark, chair and associate professor of political science, and Emma Fleck, associate professor of management and marketing, that integrated all three of their areas of scholarship. Students worked in small groups to look at new ways to engage SU’s student body with the Selinsgrove community.
Over the course of a semester, students interviewed approximately 170 Selinsgrove residents to determine community perceptions of Susquehanna and identify possible initiatives to strengthen relationships. These interviews served as initial data to inform the planning for a Downtown Center.
The building at 111 N. Market St. was erected in 1917 as Herman & Wetzel Hardware and included a large apartment on the second floor. The 1917 structure replaced the original 1880 building which housed a law office. Renovation efforts will be geared toward returning the building to more closely resemble its 1917 façade. Plans are to occupy the building in fall 2021.
This project is supported by a grant from the 1994 Charles B. Degenstein Foundation.