As builders working on the new Music Building yesterday were ready to add the final beam to the roof, University officials hosted a traditional "topping-off" ceremony to honor their work over the past eight months.
The newly renovated building, which is on schedule for completion by the end of 2009, will include 15 offices and three classrooms in addition to two recording studios, practice rooms and a computer lab.
The project is particularly notable for its extensive use of sustainable construction techniques and the building's environmentally friendly features.
As part of the celebration, which is a tradition within the construction industry, the University provided the workers with lunch as they listened to short speeches by Penn officials.
"At Penn we aim to build buildings that endure over time," Vice Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Ramin Sedehi said. "That's why it's fitting that we hold this celebration when the solid foundations are finished, rather than when the fancy bits are added in at the end."
He added that it has been a pleasure to observe the dedication with which the builders have approached the project since its launch in August.
SAS Dean Rebecca Bushnell said she was excited about the effect the new building will have on the academic study of music at Penn.
"An extraordinary department deserves an extraordinary home," she said.
Bushnell added that as dean, she is also extremely pleased that the new building "is on budget, and on target."
This first phase in the project has required a full-time staff of between 30 and 40 construction workers, project manager John Barnes said.
This number is likely to remain similar as plumbers, sheet metal workers and electricians begin focusing on the building's interior in the coming months.
The building was originally constructed in 1890 as an orphanage and was purchased by the University in the early 1900s.
Expanding the facility to meet the modern needs of the department while at the same time preserving the historic structure of the building has been a complex process, Facilities and Real Estate Vice President Anne Papageorge said.
The architectural team had to meet standards set by the Philadelphia Historical Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office, she said.
"This building is a perfect example of how we can preserve our historic roots and at the same time grow as an institution," Papageorge added.Comments powered by Disqus
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