Outreach program to get a new home

Artist's rendering of the updated Federal House

$6.3 million project will preserve, expand Federal House as new home for CORE

Penn State Behrend will renovate and repurpose the historic Federal House, the oldest brick structure in Harborcreek Township, to create a new home for the Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Community Outreach, Research, and Evaluation (CORE). The $6.3 million project will be funded by private support and by the University.

With funding in place and a preliminary design by GBBN Architects, the college will preserve the original brick structure of the Federal House and connect it to a new, modern-design building that will allow CORE to expand its programs, which have an impact on more than 3,000 youth across the Erie region of Pennsylvania every year.

CORE, an outreach center of the college’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, was established in 1998 through a gift from Susan Hirt Hagen, the first woman to serve on the board of directors of the Erie Indemnity Company, parent company of the Erie Insurance Group.

The program originally focused only on teen-pregnancy prevention. In ten years, CORE and its Positive Youth Development initiative contributed to an 80-percent reduction of the teen-pregnancy rate at Union City High School. Over the same period, the dropout rate at the school decreased by 63 percent.

Today, CORE provides programming to elementary, middle- and high-school students across Erie County. Signature community programs include the Mentor Project, which matches at-risk youth with trained college students and community members at ten sites in Erie County, and Positive Youth Development, which applies the 40 Developmental Assets framework to create a comprehensive safety net of school, community and family support resources.