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Credit: Sam Holland

Construction on New College House West, Penn's record-breaking $163 million dorm hall, is underway and expected to open in fall 2021.

The new dorm hall, which will sit on the corner of 40th and Walnut streets, began construction in December and continued over winter break. Since the end of last semester, site excavation continued, brick walkways were torn out, and temporary lighting was installed, according to an email sent to Rodin College House residents on Jan. 10. 

The email also outlined the next steps in construction and potential noise disruptions residents may expect in the coming weeks.

The construction of the building's caisson, which functions as a watertight structure and is used to keep the area dry, will begin around Jan. 21, Residential Services Manager Jamal Hagood wrote in the email. The caisson work is expected to be the noisiest part of construction, and the noisiest work of the day will "typically" begin after 8 a.m. 

Hagood added that the building's caisson construction is projected to be finished around early March. Sidewalks to the north and west of the excavation site have also been closed off.

Michael Dausch, executive director of design and construction management in Facilities and Real Estate Services, said FRES is working with the same architect and construction management companies that built New College House on 34th and Chestnut streets.

Credit: Sam Holland

Construction workers made a great deal of progress on the site over winter break.

The biggest difference between the construction of NCHW and NCH is that because of the construction process and timeline, nearby residents in Du Bois College House and Rodin will experience less dust and noise than NCH neighbors did, Executive Director of Business Services Doug Berger said.

NCHW will also be built at a quicker pace than NCH because it will be constructed using pre-cast pieces that will be put into place, while NCH was laid brick-by-brick. 

“[The building] will actually go up a lot faster,” Berger said.

Dausch also said FRES plans to renovate other residential halls on campus, such as install air conditioning this coming summer in Du Bois and Kings Court English College House, which currently don't have the systems in place.

“Over the past five years, there’s been a push to get more good quality student beds on campus with the completion of NCH and major renovation of Hill College House,” Dausch added.