Penn's campus revamped, restored, and revitalized over summer

When fall semester commences later this month, returning students and new arrivals will see a revamped, restored, and revitalized campus.

The Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES) reports more than 240 active projects. Many buildings have been renovated over the summer, and active work zones are still teeming with hundreds of construction workers.

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Mike Dausch, executive director of design and construction at FRES, says much progress has been made on erecting the New College House at Hill Field. He says bricklayers have installed many thousands of bricks, and placed limestone and added windows to enclose the building before winter and keep it on track to be ready for student occupancy in Fall 2016.

The 198,000-square-foot building is among the campus capital projects that have been designed and are being built to enhance the quality of living and learning at the University, as outlined in the Penn Connects development plan.

“This has been an extraordinary period of transformation,” University Architect David Hollenberg says. “Unlike a number of universities, this is not about growing our population; this is about enhancing quality of campus life, taking advantage of interdisciplinary education, which is so important.”

To wit, the new Neural and Behavioral Sciences Building is a major collaboration between the Biology and Psychology departments in the School of Arts & Sciences. Located between the Leidy Labs at 3740 Hamilton Walk and the Carolyn Lynch Labs at 433 S. University Ave., the building will house research and teaching labs, seminar rooms, and offices. The project completion date is scheduled for the spring of 2016.

When renovations of the existing West Philadelphia Title and Trust Building at 133 S. 36th St. are completed in the spring of 2018, it will be home to the new Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics.

And Perry World House, at 3803 Locust Walk, will be a gathering place for faculty and students from all 12 schools to engage with international scholars and policymakers. The building is on schedule for completion in the spring of 2016. Dausch says the steel work is done, concrete is being poured on floors, and workers will install the windows and roof to enclose the building and begin interior work.

Dausch notes that scaffolding set up on Locust Walk buildings and swing scaffolds on the high rises will be gone when classes begin. Renovations to the 4th floor studio of Meyerson Hall, the 3rd and 4th floors of the Fisher Fine Arts Building, and a variety of exterior facade improvements across campus will also be completed this month.

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