Penn to Build Its First-Ever New College House

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Media Contact:Ron Ozio | ozio@upenn.edu | 215-898-8658November 7, 2013

The University of Pennsylvania today announced it will break ground tomorrow on its first-ever residential building specifically designed as a college house, Penn’s residential system that brings together undergraduates, faculty, staff and graduate students to form shared communities within the larger context of Penn's vibrant campus.

Penn President Amy Gutmann will be joined at the event by Penn Trustee Chair David L. Cohen and major donors to the project. Providing funds for the project to date are Emeritus Trustee Stephen Heyman W’59 and his wife, Barbara Heyman, and the Lauder Foundation. Members of the Lauder Family who will attend the event include Leonard Lauder W’54, Penn Emeritus Trustee; William Lauder W’83, Penn Term Trustee; Ronald Lauder W’65, Lauder Institute Board of Governors chairman; and Gary Lauder C’84, W’84 and his wife, Laura Lauder. 

“The Lauder Foundation and Stephen and Barbara Heyman have made transformative investments in undergraduate life at Penn,” Gutmann said. “Their contributions go to the very heart of the Penn experience -- enriching students' campus homes so that they are even more satisfying and supportive of academic life. Generations of students will share our gratitude for their generosity." 

“Our family is thrilled to join together to help enrich the experience for future generations of the Penn family -– the students, faculty and staff who will live and learn in the New College House,” said William P. Lauder on behalf of the Lauder Foundation.

“As a longtime trustee,” said Stephen Heyman, “I felt it was important to support one of the highest priorities of the University. Barbara and I are so pleased with the dramatic impact this New College House will have on Penn’s campus. Form and function will meet in this beautiful new space, all for the benefit of the student educational experience.”

Penn’s College House system, begun 15 years ago, currently has 11 college house residences that form the dynamic shared communities within the larger Penn community. The houses serve as microcosms of the University's intellectual variety and strengths and provide learning opportunities outside of the conventional classroom.

“In 15 years, the College Houses have become enormously successful, and life in a college house has become a touchstone for generations of student experiences at Penn,” Gutmann said. 

The 198,000-square-foot building will be located on Hill Field, a site bounded by 33rd, 34th, Walnut and Chestnut streets. It will house approximately 350 undergraduate students, in three-, four-, five- and six- bedroom suites and contain a new dining venue, seminar rooms, a media center and a large multipurpose space for social and cultural activities. A central courtyard will serve the population of the building and can accommodate a variety of events, including small concerts, barbeques and other leisure activities.

Construction will begin in 2014 and is expected to be completed by 2016.

“Our goal in building the New College House,” said Provost Vincent Price, “is to construct a state-of-the-art facility that meets our highest aspirations for campus life at Penn in the 21st century and beyond.”

Currently, 52 percent of Penn’s undergraduates reside within the College House system. This includes 99 percent of the first-year class (2,451 students) and 50 percent (1,263 students) of the second-year class. Third- and fourth-year students comprise the remaining 30 percent of College House residents with equal representation from both classes (approximately 700 per class).

The Philadelphia-based design firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson has been selected to design the project. BCJ is an internationally known firm that has received more than 460 regional, national and international awards for design. In addition to the Liberty Bell Center on Independence Mall and Apple stores around the world, the firm also designed the Penn Dental’s Schattner Center.

The New College House Celebration will be held at Hill Field on Nov. 8, 2013 between 12:30 and 2 p.m. with the Ground Breaking Ceremony at 1 p.m.

Additional information on Penn’s College House system is at http://www.collegehouses.upenn.edu/index.asp.

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