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A window display at the Penn bookstore showcasing the freshman reading project book, Reality Is Broken Credit: Alexandra Fleischman , Alexandra Fleischman

While students drag their cardboard crates across campus, transplant patients are finding community and experiencing their own move at the newly opened Clyde F. Barker Transplant House.

Located at 3940 Spruce St., the Transplant House opened July 18 as a guest house for the families and loved ones of patients receiving organ transplantation at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Six weeks after opening, the house is already operating at approximately 75 percent capacity, indicating a “major need for the Penn transplant community,” Director of Development Jessie McCulley said.

The 13,000 square-foot, two-story building currently includes 12 bedrooms, a multifamily kitchen and dining room, an open courtyard, an education center and a communal living space. Once the house is fully completed, it will also include an exercise room and a library. The house is designed to give a “more personal, comfortable feeling” to guests, according to Operations Director Kirsten King.

Nine of the house’s 12 rooms are currently occupied by patients at all phases of care, from pre-evaluation testing to final surgical preparation. “If you haven’t been through it, you don’t know what a long arduous process being a transplant patient is,” McCulley said.

“Some of them are coming very, very far,” said Denise DuPont, marketing and outreach manager for the house. “It is really a good thing for transplant families.”

Although the location of the house, directly adjacent to both late-night restaurant Allegro Pizza and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, appears questionable to some students, “patients love the house,” McCulley said. “It’s a really beautiful, relaxing and quiet space.”

However, with New Student Orientation beginning today, it is uncertain whether the Transplant House will remain tranquil as students fill the corner of 40th and Spruce streets for NSO activities. Overnight security at the house has already encountered drunken Copabanana customers wandering up to the building at night.

“We’ll have to see as it goes,” King said, speaking about the potential location problem, “but we don’t think it will be too much of an issue.”

The house has already taken steps to address the issue by meeting with local community members including residents, businesses and the neighboring fraternities and sororities in order to explain the purpose of the house. “We want to make sure the neighborhood feels comfortable,” King said.

The Transplant House plans to meet again with Phi Kappa Psi on Sept. 12, where they will discuss volunteer opportunities for fraternity members and ways the groups can remain good neighbors. “We still want them to have fun,” King said.

Phi Kappa Psi fraternity declined to comment, however, the house also plans to attract volunteers from the HUP community. “The house is not just a nice place to stay. It’s a place to feel supported” McCulley said.

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