Harrisburg continues talks to lease space to Eastern University

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Eastern University is pushing a plan that calls for turning the vacant basement in the city government center into three classrooms.

The university will pay at least $600,000 for the renovations that would also include a new emergency operations center for the city and other upgrades, including improvements to restrooms.

University Provost Dr. Kent Sparks said the school would be a good fit for a diverse region.

“It is true that sometimes religion becomes the basis of discrimination,” Sparks said, “but sometimes, it is the opposite, and our view at Eastern University is about loving God, and loving your neighbor.”

Council members are requesting that the university abides by the city’s non-discrimination ordinance during the 10-year lease agreement.

Councilman Ben Allatt says it would help create a strong relationship and trust with the community.

“This is a unique situation of combining a faith-based organization with a government that has a non-discrimination ordinance in effect,” said Allatt. “So I think it is important for them to abide by our standards as a community.”

Council is expected to vote on the lease agreement on Oct. 10.

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