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Penn's performing-arts groups are on schedule to gain more space for practice and shows by the fall.

Construction of the Platt Student Performing Arts House began earlier this month in the basement of Stouffer College House, and staff associated with the project say work is on schedule and within budget.

When construction is complete, Penn's 45 performing-arts groups will have brand new space to rehearse, store materials and use arts-related technology.

The space -- built by local contractor Wolf Scott -- is the result of a $1 million gift from Penn alumni Mark and Julie Platt and contributions from a slew of other private donors.

Performing groups have lamented a shortage of rehearsal space on campus, and planners hope the space will meet those needs.

Ty Furman, Penn's director for performing arts, said he was very pleased with progress thus far.

"There's little glitches here and there, but overall we're still on schedule and things are great," he said.

The design, Furman said, was the result of collaboration between students, his office and the Platts. The result, he said, was a plan that everyone seemed to approve of.

"It's meeting many needs. Everybody thinks it's really exciting," Furman said.

As long as construction continues at the current rate, the center will open in time for the fall semester, Facilities and Real Estate Services spokesman Tony Sorrentino said.

Sorrentino added that the estimated budget of $2.5 million has not changed since construction began.

There are enough funds to complete the center at its estimated cost, Furman said, but despite this, he is still actively fundraising.

"I would love to see more gifts come in for the project -- just to be sure we have everything covered -- but we are managing within the budget that we've been given," Furman said.

Since construction began, Furman and Sorrentino said, no complaints about the noise have come in from students.

He said past construction projects provided a model of what would disrupt students the least.

"We were very careful and set very specific time frames as to when work could happen and when [water or electricity] shutdowns could happen," Furman said.

Stouffer resident and College freshman Emily Kohlhas said it is so quiet that she was not aware of the construction until she saw it going on.

Ryan Benjamin -- also a College freshman living in Stouffer -- said he can hear drilling and other noise associated with the building from his room, but that "its not too bad."

"There's nothing we can really do about it, so we just have to make do," Benjamin said.

Benjamin added that Stouffer residents received an e-mail giving construction times and announcing that no construction would take place during reading days, which run from April 24 to 26.

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