Penn's upcoming renovation projects for the Quad and Stouffer College House will feature a number of interior and exterior improvements and are set to make both buildings more accessible.
The University approved renovation plans for the two buildings last month at a Board of Trustees meeting, both of which are set to begin construction in 2022. The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with representatives from Facilities and Real Estate Services and Residential Services to learn more about what is set to change. Renovations will include more single-use bathrooms in the Quad, the removal of sinks from Quad bedrooms, and new elevators in both buildings.
This will be the first major renovation launched for the 126-year-old Quad since 2000, when its four college houses were condensed into three — Fisher Hassenfeld, Riepe, and Ware — and a number of improvements were made, including air conditioning implementation, bathroom renovations, window repairs, and exterior landscaping.
The budget for the renovation of the Quad totals $200 million, and construction will be done over six summers, beginning in 2022 and ending in 2027. It has not yet been determined which college house in the Quad will be renovated first, FRES Executive Director of Design and Construction Mike Dausch said.
Next year's renovation project will also include exterior improvements, as well as interior maintenance. University Architect Mark Kocent said 160 bathrooms in the Quad will be renovated and reconfigured into single-use bathrooms to increase privacy, though not all bathrooms will be changed to become single-use.
“Some [bathrooms] will stay multi-use because you couldn't possibly make all of them single stall, but many of the ones that currently have, say, two stalls or three stalls in them are being separated so that you could have individual compartments in the bathrooms and the shower so multiple users could use [at] the same time,” Kocent said.
Around 27 residential rooms next to existing bathrooms are expected to be lost during the renovation in order to expand bathrooms to provide more privacy for students. Director of Residential Services Pat Killilee said, however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that fewer students will be able to live in the Quad after renovations are completed. He said the amount of student beds lost during the renovation will be minimal, but did not provide a specific number.
Because of the bathroom renovations, all sinks currently in student rooms in the Quad will be removed. The only sinks that will remain will be in residential advisor and graduate associate rooms throughout the Quad.
Student rooms in the Quad will feature new paint, new fan coil units, and flooring. Hallways will also feature new paint and flooring.
On the Quad's exterior, 1,680 of 3,715 windows will be repaired. Kocent said the windows will either be restored or replaced with a similar window in order to maintain the historical integrity of the building. Roofing will also be replaced in a large portion of the Quad.
To increase accessibility in the Quad, two new elevators will be installed — one in the Thomas Penn hall and one in Memorial Tower. Kocent said these locations were chosen in order to provide easier access to nearby common spaces.
Next year will also see Stouffer College House undergo its first major renovation since 1972. Stouffer's renovation, which has a budget of $29.8 million, will begin in May 2022 and will last until August 2023, during which period the building will be closed for residency.
A major goal of the renovation of Stouffer is to make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Killilee said.
The Stouffer entrance will be moved from Woodland Walk to the corner of Spruce and 38th streets. This move, Killilee said, is partly cosmetic, but will also provide more accessibility as an elevator will be installed nearby.
The new layout of Stouffer will maintain its existing bed count, despite the renovation converting all multi-stall bathrooms into single-use. Student spaces, such as common areas and study rooms, will also be added throughout the College House. Existing multi-level floor lounges will be removed to provide full accessibility, and the exterior walls will be changed to provide views of the street.
“We're essentially gutting the whole building and rebuilding it with a fully accessible pathway through the building, so it won't need one elevator to get from down at the ground level where the Stouffer Commons is, up to the plaza, and then once you're up there, the entire floor of each floor of the building will be fully accessible,” Kocent said.
In a typical year, 127 students and four RAGAs reside in Stouffer, the majority of whom are first-year students, Killilee said. These students will be unable to reside in Stouffer when it is closed for renovations.
“Students will have to be spread out through other College Houses, so it might mean that some other four-year houses will have a few more [first years] than they would typically have,” he said.
Since College House renovations are completed in cycles, the last of which ended with Hill College House in 2017, the renovation of the Quad and Stouffer will mark the beginning of a new cycle.
In the previous cycle, the high rises were renovated after the Quad. While Killilee said the high rises are most likely next to be renovated, plans to do so have not yet been made.