is embarking on "a bold new initiative to renovate and reimagine" two massive, former Bethlehem Steel buildings on its Mountaintop campus.
With a $20 million gift from alumnus Scott Belair, who graduated in 1969 and went on to co-found Urban Outfitters, the school acquired the buildings, totaling 120,000 square feet, in May and envisions using them as a center for innovation and creativity.
"Mountaintop provides an opportunity for students to define complex questions, take intellectual risks, use faculty as mentors and access resources and support from across the university and beyond," the university said in a blog post. "Students will be challenged to develop their capacities for creativity, inquiry, discovery, synthesis and teamwork."
Several teams of students and faculty worked at Mountaintop this summer in open-ended pilot projects. One team isolated and characterized viruses that attack bacteria that are found in soil as part of a large national project on tuberculosis. Other teams developed a prototype for durable housing for refugees, designed an integrated system for both crop production and water filtration and produced a documentary film about the first four women faculty members in Lehigh's English department.
The university is gathering ideas for projects and uses for the facility and expects to use Belair's gift to leverage an additional $40 million as it moves ahead with its multi-phase Mountaintop project.
Source: Lehigh University
Writer: Elise Vider