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The west entrance of Steinberg-Dietrich Hall on Locust will look like this when the renovations are completed. It has been undergoing renovations since the end of last semester.

Next semester, students will finally be able to see Steinberg-Dietrich Hall without all of its scaffolding.

Two large classrooms that had undergone renovations throughout this semester are scheduled to be open for student use by early January. However, the rest of the building will not be ready until July of 2013.

The Wharton building, located on 36th and Locust Walk, began to undergo renovation and expansion in May of this year. Earlier projections of the cost estimate stood at $18.5 million, but now the total cost of the project is calculated to be $15.9 million, according to Facilities and Real Estate Services.

Executive Director for Design and Construction Michael Dausch said that the classrooms will be ready for use shortly.

“They are lecture halls that have been reconstructed to be more handicap-accessible and more suited for audiovisual projections,” he said.

Dausch added that the classrooms will open ahead of the rest of the building because their priority was to ensure that students would be able to use the classroom space as soon as possible.

According to a previous Daily Pennsylvanian article, the renovations to the Wharton building include the addition of 32 new faculty offices, the two classrooms, a lawn area, a new West entrance with an open pavilion and a new glass tower. The project covers approximately 31,100 square feet in the building.

The renovation project is also targeting a silver certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

“We are continually reinvesting in buildings from a sustainability point of view,” Principal Planner Mark Docent said.

Dausch added that the current construction is a fairly equal split between renovation and new construction.

In the meantime, construction at this Wharton building has disrupted life for some students. One entrance to Joe’s Cafe’s from the basement is closed, and one of the exits from the building has also been sealed.

Wharton and College senior Ling Miao, who has a class in the building this semester, said the current construction makes the building less aesthetically pleasing.

“It will definitely be nicer once the construction ends,” she said.

Miao thinks the renovation will make the building more attractive to visitors to campus.

Wharton and Engineering sophomore Aditya Gathwala, who also has a class in Steinberg-Dietrich Hall, thinks the renovation will help highlight a building that is often forgotten by Wharton students.

He is looking forward to the building’s opening, as he is sometimes delayed by ongoing construction in the basement.

“I associate Steinberg-Dietrich Hall with Wharton more than I do with Huntsman Hall,” he said. “The renovations will bring importance back to the building.”

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