At last, the much-vaunted Perelman Quadrangle is open to the public, and Houston Hall -- the crown jewel of the five-building complex -- can retake its place at the heart of student life. And neither the whole nor the part disappoints. However, students and administrators should not see the removal of the cranes and bulldozer and shifting piles of dirt as an end, but rather as a beginning. The buildings look wonderful -- student reaction to the renovations has been overwhelmingly positive -- but will not always be as clean or as shiny or as well upholstered. The University has a responsibility to be vigilant in its upkeep of the Perelman Quad so that the complex does not deteriorate to the condition it was in before $87.5 million in renovations and years of inconvenience restored it to its former grandeur. Small investments over time will obviate the need for large expenses such as those incurred over the last five years. Penn officials also should not view the opening of its retail dining establishments in Houston Hall as the end of a process. Much of the character and convenience of the old Houston Hall basement came from the low-cost dining and retail alternatives -- Burger King, Subway, Hair House, CDs to Go -- that satisfied real student needs. Since Penn has chosen to exclude outside retailers from the renovated facility, its challenge and responsibility is to see that these new operations provide affordable and varied options for the student body. We expect that the University will take appropriate action should the new eateries not meet students' expectations as regards cost or qualityComments powered by Disqus
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