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Renderings of Harrisburg University’s forthcoming tower at Third and Chestnut streets in downtown Harrisburg. (Photo courtesy: Harrisburg University of Science and Technology)

(Harrisburg) — A midstate college has the green light to move forward with a major construction project.

Harrisburg’s city council recently approved Harrisburg University of Science and Technology’s 17-story tower slated for the corner of Third and Chestnut streets in the city’s downtown. 

The building is projected to take two years to complete. President Eric Darr said they will do a bond offering next month and hope to break ground this August.

The goal is to have the building open in time for the fall 2021 semester.

“You can always open a new restaurant at whatever point, but if we miss the beginning of the fall semester for an academic year we likely have missed the opportunity for that entire academic year,” Darr said.

The $100 million academic building will house new health science and advanced manufacturing programs.

Darr said current facilities don’t have the space for such programs. The new building will have simulated hospital floors for nursing students pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees. 

The site also includes a $35 million hotel operated by Harrisburg-based HHM. Darr said having the hotel on site will be beneficial for prospective students touring the school as well as visiting lecturers. 

In an effort to ensure people in the area have the opportunity to work on this or future projects, the university has been holding series of meet-and-greets and education programs for small businesses and contractors.

“And so we’d like there to be construction industry local workers, local contractors right here in Harrisburg that we could rely on not just for this project but for all projects that we’re going to continue to have as the years go by,” Darr said.