2000 to 2009: From 9/11 to Interstate 99 | City & dress
The new millennium had barely begun when the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 struck the country – and the State College. The county emergency services went on high alert, flights suspended, people queued to donate blood, and this week’s Penn State football game against Virginia has been postponed.
The beginning of the decade saw a sharp shift in Center County’s employment base from manufacturing to services. C-COR.net Corp. laid off half of its 520 local employees in 2001, and MuRata Electronics North America also cut its State College staff. Corning Asahi laid off its last 1,000 employees here in 2003 and closed the site.
Times got a little tougher in late 2007 when the worst US economic downturn since the Great Depression hit Center County. Although the university continued to provide a solid economic base, recent Penn State graduates faced a tough job market and former manufacturing workers still struggled. At the same time, the Marcellus shale gas boom spread to north Center County, leading to bitter clashes between those who wanted the economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing – “fracking” – and those who wanted the effects on it The environment.
In 2000, Penn State announced plans to develop the West Campus. Six years later, the massive Westgate Building spanned North Atherton Street, connecting the two campuses and providing a home for the booming College of Information Sciences and Technology. In 2001, a $ 93 million upgrade made Beaver Stadium the second largest stadium on the nation’s campus, with a capacity of 107,501. In 2003, the university agreed to sell the Circleville Farm to developers, much to the horror of the locals who loved to hike there.
Retail options were expanded when Target was completed in 2000 to anchor The Colonnade; Best Buy opened in 2001 and Wegmans in 2002. The popularity of the surrounding malls led to the closure of 88-year-old OW Houts in 2008, which had sold everything from furniture to pickles in a maze of buildings at College and Buckhout.
The new State College Municipal Building opened in 2001, the new Schlow Library in 2006, and the renovated State Theater later that year, along with the first State College Spikes season. In the healthcare sector, Center Volunteers in Medicine began their services in 2003, followed by the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund in 2006 and Geisinger Gray’s Woods in 2007. In February, the Lady Lions hosted the first Think Pink game to raise funds for breast cancer research . In 2008, most local workplaces, bars and restaurants became smoke-free under a new state law.
The long-awaited construction of Interstate 99 from Bald Eagle to State College has been plagued by controversy, first with a battle between the valley and the ridgetop (ridgentop won) and then by the excavation of acid pyrite rock. After $ 83 million in renovation work, the freeway finally opened in 2008.
Center County’s population continued to grow, reaching nearly 154,000 by the end of the decade – nearly double the population in 1960. In large part due to the influx of Penn State students from other parts of the country and around the world, the population was the Counties The diversity is becoming ever more diverse: 5.2 percent of the population are Asians, 3 percent of the residents are black and 2.4 percent are Hispanic or Latino. Although 89.4 percent were white, that was a far cry from the 99 percent white in 1960. Diversification continues to this day.