Campus & Facilities
West Chester University Campus
West Chester University’s campus is a mixture of 19th century collegiate Gothic and contemporary architectural styles. 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 its particular character for more than a century. Over the ensuing decades, the University expanded to the west and south to include residence halls, student activity and athletic facilities, a dining facility, and general academic buildings. Focal points of student leisure life outside the classroom include the Sykes Student Union, which houses a movie theater, food court, meeting rooms, and lounges, and the Student Recreation Center, which features a popular three-story climbing wall, basketball courts, exercise rooms with cardio equipment and weights, a running track, and a smoothie cafe for post-workout refueling.
Just three-quarters of a mile away is South Campus, a 300-acre expanse that includes apartment complexes housing more than 1,200 students and the Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center, a nationally acclaimed teaching, performance, and research facility. Surrounding the center are tennis courts, two multipurpose artificial turf fields, and Farrell Stadium, which is equipped with the same artificial turf used by professional football teams.
Also at South Campus is the Gordon Natural Area. This 70-acre site encompasses two parcels of land, a 47-acre forest, which is east of Farrell Stadium on South Campus, and a 23-acre tract of old farm fields, floodplains, and wetlands southwest of the stadium. Gordon Natural Area currently is home to more than 35 research projects, ranging from stream water quality assessments to seismic monitoring. In its efforts to protect biodiversity, the natural area conducts plant surveys, removes invasive plant species, and organizes tree plantings.
West Chester University is committed to developing and managing its financial and physical resources through sustainability. In 2010 the University released a comprehensive facilities plan which identified academic space needs and deficits. A follow-up report in 2011 looked at space needs at the individual department level. These documents provided a framework for the University to improve the physical campus environment. Considerable progress has been made toward overcoming space deficits, most notably in the construction of the Business and Public Affairs Center, which will be the largest academic building at WCU when it opens in 2017. While the comprehensive facilities plan has served the University well, continued growth and success requires a realignment of facilities space. In 2015, a mid-decade update was released to identify key issues that now direct the plan moving forward.
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 (http://www.wcupa.edu/infoservices/clientServices/itHelpDesk/), 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.
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.
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. An automatic mobile interface, and downloadable applications for streaming media allow access to many library resources and services on smartphones and tablets.
Francis Harvey Green Library
The Francis Harvey 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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Desktop computers, music composition software, and laptops for in-library use are available.
- More than 740,000 print volumes
- More than 2,000 print subscriptions
- More than 12,000 films, videos, and DVDs
- More than 56,000 sound recordings
- More than 760,000 electronic books
- More than 27,000 electronic journal subscriptions
- More than 2.2 million art images
- More than 770,000 albums of streaming audio
- More than 49,000 scores
- Full text of articles from more than 97,000 journals through licensed databases
- More than 926,000 microfilms, microfiche, and microcards
Books and articles not owned or licensed by WCU Library Services may be requested online using interlibrary loan services, including ILLiad and PALCI EZ-Borrow. Special interlibrary loan services are available to students who do not take classes on the main campus, including distance education students and students at other locations, such as the Graduate Center or the Philadelphia campus. There is no charge for interlibrary loan.
West Chester University Library Services Special Collections preserves and provides access to materials of significant historical and research value related to University history and the teaching and learning needs of the University community. Special Collections offers access to local and statewide community residents and other outside researchers.
Special holdings 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. Collections worthy of note, but not in Special Collections, include children’s literature, instructional media in the FHG Library, and the Philips Autographed Library in Philips Memorial Building.
West Chester University’s Philadelphia campus offers programs of study within three different colleges, all under one roof. WCU Philadelphia specializes in part-time courses for busy professionals who are looking to obtain their bachelor’s or master’s degrees.
Small class sizes and distinguished faculty members are the hallmarks of a WCU Philadelphia education, and create a positive and successful learning experience for students. In addition to attaining a customized education experience, students will network and build connections, setting them on the right path for a successful future. Academic colleges represented at the Philadelphia campus include:
- College of Arts and Humanities
- College of Business and Public Management
- College of Health Sciences
West Chester University’s Philadelphia campus is surrounded by many of the restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions that the city is famous for. Located in the heart of Center City at 701 Market Street, WCU Philadelphia is easily accessible by public transportation. SEPTA’s Jefferson Station is a short walk from campus, and a bus stop is located just outside of the building. If you drive to campus, WCU students are eligible for discounted parking rates at local parking lots and garages. On street metered parking is also available.
West Chester University’s Philadelphia campus is a state-of-the-art classroom and meeting space equipped with educational resources to help students reach their fullest academic potential, including:
- Computer lab
- Counseling services
- Writing center
- Full-time Coordinator of Support Services in Center City (links services offered in West Chester to our Philadelphia students)
The Graduate Center, located within the Greenhill Corporate Park at 1160 McDermott Drive in West Chester, is home to the MBA Program, the Department of Public Policy & Administration, and the Department of Counselor Education. Additionally, it is home to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center (SPARC), a non-profit clinic that provides services to individuals with autism and a variety of behavioral challenges.
The WCU Geology Museum in the Schmucker Science Center 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 Earth and Space Sciences 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 Earth and Space Sciences at 610-436-2727 for more information or to make an appointment.
The College of the Sciences and Mathematics operates an observatory on top of the Schmucker Science Center. The facility houses a 14-inch, Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with photometric, spectrographic, and photographic instrumentation. The observatory serves mostly as an introduction to astronomy research for interested students, but it is also used for public outreach and is available for use in astronomy courses.
The Department of Earth and Space Sciences 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, school groups (Pre K to 12), and public programs. Annual attendance approaches 2,000. During the regular academic year, public shows are offered several times a month. Live shows, presented by a Ph.D astronomer, give an overview of the current night sky and focus on a special topic in astronomy. Pre-recorded shows consist of a short sky tour followed by an astronomy-themed movie. These movies 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 the Sciences and Mathematics, 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/earthSpaceSciences.
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 70 acres of natural woodland, field, and streamside habitat at the Gordon Natural Area, located on South Campus. 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. The Gordon Natural Area encompasses two parcels of land: a 47-acre forest, which is east of Farrell Stadium on South Campus, and a 23-acre tract of old farm fields, floodplain, and wetlands southwest of the stadium. Gordon Natural Area currently is home to more than 35 research projects, ranging from stream water quality assessments to seismic monitoring. In its efforts to protect biodiversity, the natural area conducts plant surveys, removes invasive plant species, and organizes tree plantings. As part of its outreach mission, the Gordon Natural Area partners with area organizations on projects such as the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s Tree Tenders program and the East Goshen Township Forest Restoration Project. In addition, more than 900 West Chester University students visit this outdoor classroom annually. While frequented by field botany and general ecology students, it’s also used by business and education classes, Honors College programs, ROTC students, student wellness, and athletic programs.
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.