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[Ryan Jones/The Summer Pennsylvanian] Construction is ongoing throughout the summer nearly every year in Penn's College House system, as the school struggles to adapt to the ever-changing demands on higher education institutions.

Students living in Hamilton College House during Penn's two summer sessions have front-row seats from which to watch the newest renovations to the University's College House system.

Several renovation projects are continuing on campus this summer, promising that Penn dormitories will have a more modern look when students return to live there in the fall.

Perhaps the most noticeable hard-hat zone this summer is Hamilton Village, with two out of three high rises surrounded by scaffolding and landscape work also being done in the area. The high rises are not alone, however, as the Quadrangle, English House, and Hill and Stouffer College Houses are all set to receive upgrades.

According to University Architect Charles Newman, Harrison College House is in Phase two of its planned renovation.

"Phase two of Harrison House renovation is moving forward with window replacement and interior renovation similar in scope to those completed in Hamilton House," he wrote in an e-mail interview.

The interior renovations consist of window, furniture and air conditioning unit upgrades, according to Doug Berger, director of Housing and Conference Services.

"We are also upgrading College House space," he added.

Harnwell College House is beginning its own renovations, receiving "exterior concrete repairs and life safety upgrades," according to Newman.

Also, with the two other high rise buildings' colors already in place, "Harnwell will get its protective coating ... with the color of the Locust Walk wing being a warm shade of yellow," he wrote.

The renovation of the high rises is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2005. By then, Newman said, "all three high rises will have undergone the same level of renovation."

And while Harrison College House is the major project going on within the College House system, there are other dormitories receiving upgrades.

"We are installing new fire safety and sprinkler systems in Stouffer, Hill and English House College Houses," said Berger, director of Housing and Conference Services.

He added that the Quad is getting a "safety perimeter upgrade" as well. That means "making sure that emergency exits are alarmed properly" and working on the "new entry system with the card swipe and pin number."

Students see the doors as a mixed blessing.

"The new entrance doors are convenient because you can go in at your own speed," said College and Wharton senior Caesar Maasry, who lived in Hamilton College House during the school year.

However, "when [the machines] break, the lines to get in are incredibly slow," he added.

"Still, they look really cool."

According to Berger, the College House renovations are going well. "We are even a little ahead of schedule, but it's early yet. We're only a couple of weeks into it."

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