Reconstructions, renovations and repairs, oh my


Several projects are part of a 10 yearlong building project known as Penn Connects


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The Penn Bookstore on 36th and Walnut streets is renovating its escalators and asking customers to use the elevators at the back of the store. 

Photo by Andres De los Rios


If you’re trying to talk on your cell phone as you walk through campus this summer, the sound of drills and jackhammers might make it difficult.

While the majority of the student population is away for the summer, construction sites are taking over campus. Some of these projects are part of Phase II of a 10 year long campus building project known as Penn Connects, which began in 2006 and will bring big changes to Penn.

According to Penn’s Real Estates and Facilities (FRES), “Summer is the time of year that FRES Operations & Maintenance teams take advantage of vacated spaces to do repair, renovation and refinishing projects.”

The Class of 1949 Bridge which connects the core of campus to the living facilities, will be closed until the middle of August for “repairs to drainage, paving, donor plaques, railings and the installation of new lighting,” according to a construction summary from the FRES Associate Director of Communications Heidi Wunder.

The Kelly Writers House has begun construction and will feature a new recording studio, publications room and an outdoor reading and performance venue in the fall.

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By Andres De los Rios

The Class of 1949 Bridge is under renovation as repairs are made to drainage, paving and railings. It will reopen by August when students return to campus.

The new college house at Hill Field — a $ 127 million project that began this past November — is making major strides. According to the construction report, the 190,000 gross square foot freshman living facility will be completed by the fall of 2016 and will provide “350 undergraduate bedrooms, faculty and advisor apartments, social and academic support spaces and a full-service dining hall.”

Construction on a $ 68.6 million Neural and Behavioral Sciences Building has started near Leidy Labs and the Biopond. This building, which will be completed in spring 2016, will foster collaboration between the disciplines of biology and psychology.

“Our new construction, such as the new college house and the Neural and Behavioral Sciences building, are moving along well this summer” said Executive Director of Design & Construction Michael Dausch. “Our timelines are tight, but our teams are used to this summer turnaround work and we anticipate being on schedule as the student body returns at the end of August.”

The $ 14 million Gregory College House renovations will also be completed this summer, with upgrades to the bathrooms, lighting, infrastructure and landscape.

In addition to the multiple construction sites, the escalators at the Penn bookstore are out of commission until June 30. People are asked to take the elevators located on the Samson street side of the store.

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