A rendering of Marywood's architecture school building, previously a little-used gymnasium.

A rendering of Marywood's architecture school building, previously a little-used gymnasium.

Credit: Hemmler and Camayd Architects

Marywood University, a private, Catholic school in Scranton, Pa., has announced a new school of architecture, the state's seventh. The school, which will begin enrolling students for the fall 2009 semester, will feature a strong focus on sustainable design, building on the university's membership in the U.S. Green Building Council. Three degree programs will be offered: a four-year preprofessional Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture degree; a five-year B.Arch.; and a six-year M.Arch., which requires two years of study after the completion of the preprofessional program.

To further emphasize the programs' green focus, the school says that all students will be required to take course work that prepares them for the LEED Accredited Professional exam, allowing B.Arch. and M.Arch. students to graduate with LEED AP status as well as a professional degree. Students will also take classes in the university's existing liberal arts core.

"We expect to have anywhere from 20 to 30 students" in the first year, says Gregory Hunt, special assistant to the provost for the school of architecture. The school facility, an adaptive reuse by Scranton firm Hemmler + Camayd Architects of an "underutilized" campus gymnasium, "should accommodate about 200 students," Hunt adds. "We expect it will take five to seven years to reach capacity." Currently under renovation, the building is expected to achieve LEED Gold status.

The announcement comes after a year and a half of planning. As for who will lead the new school as dean, Hunt says he cannot comment before the decision is announced by Marywood officials. The university will apply next fall for National Architectural Accrediting Board candidacy status, granted to new programs that demonstrate viable plans for achieving accreditation within six years.