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Rendering from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects

The “Power of Penn” fundraising campaign — the largest one yet in the University's history — is set to finance eight new buildings, as well as finance new renovations and extensions of current buildings. 

Approved by Penn's Board of Trustees in March and set to last until 2021, the “Power of Penn Campaign: Advancing Knowledge for Good" was announced on April 12 with an email from Penn President Amy Gutmann sent to Penn faculty and students. The campaign aims to raise $4.1 billion in four years, making it the most ambitious fundraising project in Penn history. 

Chair of Penn’s Board of Trustees David Cohen made clear, however, that the decision to launch certain construction projects were made independently of the fundraising campaign.

“Most of the buildings are going to be financed by the campaign. The decision to build them and the judgements as to their needs have nothing to do with their campaign,” Cohen said. “There are independent assessments made by the University and the Schools as to the need for the additional buildings and facilities.”

The campaign involves all 12 schools and six centers at Penn and it has outlined seven detailed “priorities” — focused groups of projects that it aims to fund. One of them, called “creat[ing] spaces that drive solutions," states that nine campus construction projects will be covered by funds raised.

Two of the scheduled projects are affiliated with the Wharton School. 

The Wharton Academic Research Building, sitting near the 37th and Spruce streets, will bring all the current Wharton research programs into one central location.

“[The building] has been designed as a place for Wharton community members to congregate, discover and collaborate,” the campaign website says.

A new student entrepreneurship center called the Venture Lab is set to open at the corner of 40th and Sansom streets. 

According to Chair of the Power of Penn Campaign Bob Levy, the new building will serve a different purpose than the recently completed Pennovation Center building which serves as an entrepreneurship center with a “corporate-type perspective” for companies and inventors. 

The Venture Lab, Levy said, is meant specifically to engage all Penn students.

“It is point blank open to all students at the University of Pennsylvania, seven days a week for most of the day to provide resources and support,” Levy said. “It is intended to promote entrepreneurship and innovation which are not Wharton or Engineering only.”

The campaign will also cover the expenses for the construction of a new Science Research Building to be built on the south side of 32nd and Walnut streets. It will primarily house energy science research initiatives, bringing together physical scientists and engineers.

The building that currently houses the Graduate School of Education will also undergo renovations with the addition of brand new student pavilion. The GSE will merge with neighboring Stiteler Hall and receive an additional two-story building, giving the school an added 25,000 square-feet overall. 

The campaign will also finance a new indoor training facility behind the Hollenback Center, Penn Dental’s Schattner Pavilion, renovations in the Penn Museum, and the new Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

New College House West, a new College House announced last fall, is also included in the list of projects that the campaign will tackle. 

The official announcement at the time stated that it was needed to accommodate increased on-campus housing demand, but The Daily Pennsylvanian's interviews with various administrative offices suggested that the long-term goal of the construction was to provide capacity that would allow for renovations of older colleges houses like the Quad in the future. 

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