Courtesy of Penn Medicine
Breaking from tradition, the university is poised to spend vast amounts of money on a building unrelated to medicine, economics, business, or STEM pursuits.
University President Amy Gutmann has formally unveiled plans for a brand new, state-of-the-art, $1.2 billion building to serve as a new home fof the English department. The department, currently housed in Fisher-Bennett Hall alongside other humanities departments, will be moving to its new berth upon the building's completion.
In a press release, Gutmann delivered the exciting news.
"We are proud to announce the construction of a new building for the English department, a department whose meagre facilities have for too long lagged behind the nobility of their enterprise. The University of Pennsylvania cares just as much about the humanities as it does anything else; this much should be obvious."
Gutmann's statement does not include a location for the planned building. We reached out to the University, which told us: "We are not worried about finding a property. We own a disturbingly large amount of Philadelphia real estate, and are always into buying more land. Do not doubt our appetite for ruthless expansion."
The building, slated to be finished in 2022, is being designed by world-famous modern architect Norman Foster, who has previously designed major buildings in New York, London, Hong Kong, and elsewhere, and has been knighted in the U.K. The press release states that Foster will bring a "cutting-edge" approach to the building's design, incorporating tons of steel and glass in a manner which will "certainly fit in with, and compliment, the architecture of West Philadelphia."
Foster, who worked with Apple to design their massive "Apple Park" campus, told us that he couldn't wait to start working on the project. "When I heard 'English department,' I grimaced," he said. "But when I heard 'billion,' I smiled."
This is the largest single University expenditure for the English department since 2004, when the department received a lightly-used coffee machine purchased on Craigslist.
The building will include a number of "interrogation rooms" complete with klieg lights and two-way mirrors for closer examination of recalcitrant texts, high-tech "audio labs" for "recovering the voices of silenced characters in literature," and scores of hotel rooms where recently-graduated English majors can stay for free while they search for jobs.
Despite all this planning, the massive new English department is currently unnamed. The University wants to name it after Ronald O. Perelman, who indicated a willingness to donate in exchange for naming rights, but the English department is hesitant to name it after another straight white man. If the two do not reach an agreement, members of the administration told us, the Philosophy department will get the building.
Sources say that the Philosophy department is already working on the problem of whether such a building could exist and, if so, how that might be proven.