The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Economics Department to move to Kunkel Hall, retain Simon name

It is uncertain what the Simon Center will be used for after the relocation of the Economics Department. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette Communications)

The Economics Department is preparing for bigger and better things as Kunkel Hall undergoes renovations to become the new departmental home base.

The current Simon Center, named after the former U.S. Treasury Secretary and major benefactor to the college William E. Simon ‘52, is located behind Pardee along S. College Drive. While the building offers a computer classroom and a lounge, the new Simon Center will have much more. Kunkel Hall, the future home of the new Simon Center, will also be in a more centralized location, next to Hugel Science Center. 

“We will be happier people,” Head of the Economics Department David Stifel said of the future move. “The Simon Center has been a good home for us for a long time, but the building is old … and it will be nice for us to have a more comfortable space.” 

Director of Facilities Operations Scott Kennedy wrote in an email that Kunkel Hall is scheduled to be open for the fall 2024 semester, with the Economics Department moving into the building in August 2024.

“Supply chain issues remain a concern as material availability and deliveries are still unpredictable in the current market,” Kennedy wrote. “The construction management team will be keeping a close eye on this as the construction gets underway.”

Right now, the college is working with a company called the Smith Group to reevaluate the physical space on campus and complete a campus master plan. Like the recent renovations to Rockwell, Acopian and other classroom buildings, the new spaces are meant to foster collaboration and flexibility within a changing academic environment. As for the specific renovations planned for Kunkel Hall, Kennedy wrote that there will be “additional classrooms, state of the art technology, a lecture hall that better meets the needs of their program and additional collaboration space.”

There will also be a data lab. 

“We are really excited … to have the building come to life,” Stifel said. “Having those collaborative spaces, having the data lab, will all help us to teach and mentor our students better.”

The relocation is a source of excitement for current students.

“I think [the renovation] is a great idea,” aspiring economics major, Anthony Cucc ‘26, said. “It could make group projects better, and people could get work done more efficiently.” 

 Though there have been rumors the Math Department is moving into the old Simon Center building, the campus master plan will help determine what will become of the current Simon Center building. Stifel said that the current Simon Center may be “used as swing space while they are renovating Pardee.” 

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Jenny Davis, Staff News Writer

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