Nittany Mall: Necessity or Nuisance?


Abby Vance

The Nittany Mall in its current state on a Friday afternoon.

Abby Vance and Edna Wafula

In recent times, the Nittany Mall has been a hot topic in State College. There has been word about the mall being turned into a casino, something that has been in the air for a while. According to a Business Insider article, “Ten years from now, there will be approximately 150 malls left in the US…that’s down from around 2,500 locations in the 1980s and 700 today.” This begs the question: will the mall stay, or is it time to start from scratch?

Pros to the removal of the Nittany Mall:

The Nittany Mall is quite outdated and unneeded. With the advancement and popularity of online shopping, it’s clear to see that State College needs a change. 

Studies have shown that online shopping is more environmentally friendly than in-store shopping; one van delivering 50 packages is more environmentally friendly than 50 cars going to one store. 

When asked about the subject, freshman Varrah Gramling said, “I think we should replace it [in-person] shopping because there aren’t that many popular stores in the anymore. No one ever goes there anymore. We should replace it with something that more people find useful.” 

It may seem unrealistic or drastic, but there are many useful replacements to choose from. For example, according to a Becker’s Hospital Reviews article, a former JC Penney at the Charleston Citadel Mall was turned into a 126,000-square-foot outpatient facility for the University of South Carolina. Not only that but according to a KUT 9.5 article, a mall in Austin, Texas was transformed into a community college. 

So, replacing the mall would have notable advantages. Not only would it benefit the environment, but it would also benefit the community by opening doors to new public infrastructure options.

Cons to the removal of the Nittany Mall:

While some argue that malls are a wasteful use of space, we have to take a step back and remember why they were created in the first place. Malls were originally invented for benefits in the community both socially and economically. 

Freshman at State High, Jae Reutzel, said that, “malls host a lot of important stores all in one place for people to go and not waste money on extra gas or anything like that.”

Malls are extremely convenient by having multiple stores and products in one space. With parking spaces, food courts, and a wide variety of consumer products, malls benefit shoppers in so many ways. Instead of having to make multiple stops, people can access everything in one place. Even business owners can profit from the exposure malls create to attract more customers. 

Before the rise of online shopping, teenagers used to be able to go to the mall, socialize, and actually experience everything the mall has to offer. Now, Nittany Mall is practically empty and there are barely any stores or shoppers. 

A study done by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States shows that “social isolation increased the risk of inflammation by the same magnitude as physical inactivity in adolescents.” This demonstrates the point that adolescents need to get out and socialize more. The increase of social media platforms leaves kids stuck on their phones for hours. Malls could provide a space for them to get out and socialize while improving their overall health. 

While reminiscing the past and remembering what the mall used to be, it can also create hope moving forward to the future of the Nittany Mall. However, instead of destroying it, it could be renovated into a mall of higher enjoyment and popularity.

Reutzel said that he would go to the mall more if they renovated it.“I think it would be a really fun place to shop with friends after school and over the weekend.”

Online shopping platforms can be beneficial in many ways, but in this current time period most days are spent behind screens. People don’t need new online shopping platforms, what they need is to step outside and experience a world beyond the screen. 

Investing in the Future of the Nittany Mall could benefit people in ways they never thought they needed.