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Work in Progress, continued

Photos by Greg Benson

From left: the Biomedical Research Building,
completed in May; work proceeds in the
Perelman Quadrangle.

 

From the Schuylkill to 34th StreetA commercial residential venture, recreation and a mix of new academic and research space
    East Side, Westside. At the eastern edge of Penn’s campus, the University has leased the former GE Building, a vacant warehouse at 31st and Chestnut Street that it has owned since 1996, to a local developer to be converted into a high-end apartment complex. The $54 million project, which won’t use any University or public money, is scheduled to open in 2001. It calls for 285 apartments, retail and office space, a rooftop fitness center and an indoor parking garage for residents. The main entrance for the complex, to be called Westside Commons, will be at 32nd and Walnut streets. While the building is not designed as University housing, it’s expected to attract students, faculty and staff who might otherwise choose Center City apartments, and it should help brighten the approach to the campus along Walnut Street.
   
Safe Storage. Plans call for work to start next spring on a new wing of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The 35,000-square-foot facility will provide much-needed, climate-controlled storage space for the museum’s collections–some 90 percent of which are currently stored in the basements of the original wings of the Museum in far-from-ideal conditions–and offices for people working with the collections. The addition will be named for A. Bruce (C'47) and Margaret (Ed'47 Hon'85) Mainwaring, who have contributed $3.5 million toward construction.
   
The new wing will project out toward South Street. The storage area will be on the east side of the building, which will be windowless to allow control of light, temperature and humidity. The western side, which faces onto an existing courtyard, will be for offices and seminar rooms. The façade on that side will echo the materials and design of the older wings, and the courtyard will also be relandscaped. Architects on the project are Atkin, Olshin, Lawson-Bell and Associates.
   
New Fields to Conquer. Work was scheduled to be finished this month on a $350,000 project to shift Bower Field, formerly Penn’s baseball field, to general recreational uses in order to centralize the recreation program. However, this summer’s drought has put off sodding until the fall. The baseball team’s new home will be Murphy Field, which is undergoing a $2 million conversion, including construction of bermed seating for 1,000, to be finished in time for the spring 2000 season.
   
Next to the field, a $63 million chilled water plant to provide air conditioning and process cooling water for campus buildings is under construction. Besides providing an ultimate capacity of 50,000 tons of water and allowing the University to retire three older facilities, the plant boasts an architectural design incorporating a monumental perforated metal screen, which has been featured in Architecture magazine and other publications. The plant is scheduled to start providing chilled water in May 2000.
   
Engineering Expansion. What is now a parking lot and loading dock between the Towne Building and the Graduate Research Wing of the Moore School Building will become the home of the Center for Computer Information and Cognitive Sciences. Known as IAST II because it is the second phase of the planned five-phase Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (the first involved construction of the Roy and Diana Vagelos Laboratories, which opened in November 1997), the $15 million building will be named for Melvin J. Levine W’46 and his wife Claire, who gave $5 million to the project. Now in preliminary design and tentatively scheduled to open in November 2001, the four-story structure, totaling 39,000 square feet, will provide laboratories for teaching and research in computer and information science; also included will be a café within the graduate wing and surrounding walks and courtyard.
   
More Medical Research Space. In May, the Biomedical Research Building (BRB II/III) opened. Designed by the architectural firm Perkins and Will, the $149 million, 15-story structure includes 11 floors of laboratories, along with an auditorium, a café, bookstore and seminar rooms on the lower floors. The building’s 384,000 square feet brings together 800 researchers and support staff in disciplines such as cell and development biology, reproductive biology, gene therapy and other related fields that had previously been scattered across the Health System’s other facilities.
   
According to plans announced last fall, Penn and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will redevelop 10.7 acres of the 19.2 acre site of the former Philadelphia Civic Center to construct a cancer treatment and research center, as well as parking facilities and commercial space. Penn would get most of the land and bear the cost of demolishing the existing buildings and environmentally remediating the area; CHOP would pay $3 million for a 2.5 acre parcel. The University would also pay $320 million of the estimated $450 million total cost to redevelop the site, with CHOP picking up most of the rest.

 

 

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Copyright 1999 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 8/24/99