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Riepe College House construction, expected to wrap up by the end of this academic year, will include elevator installations, finishing work, and furniture delivery.

Credit: Gabriel Jung

Renovations to Riepe College House are on track to finish in August 2024 — with Ware College House next in line for the $238 million Quad renovation project. 

Riepe College House construction will continue through this academic year, with elevator installations, finishing work, and furniture delivery slated to occur during that time. Ware College House is expected to undergo renovations during the 2024-25 academic year. 

The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke with Executive Director of Design and Construction Chris Kern about the progress of the Quad renovations, which are scheduled to be completed by August of 2026. The renovations to Riepe College House – the first of the project’s three phases – are currently in progress, and they are expected to be completed through Aug. 2024 in time for move-in, Kern said. The renovations will include new air conditioning and heating units, chimney and roof repairs, new elevators, and new finishes, according to Kern.

The work in the Quad was initially budgeted to cost $200 million, but it had increased to $238.15 million to cover chimney work and inflation as of October 2022.

According to Kern, as of the start of this month, interior demolition work has been completed in Riepe, and the plumbing and mechanical systems have been brought in for resident rooms as well as for the new all-gender restrooms.

Preparations were also made for the construction of Riepe's new elevators, Kern said. The first elevator installation, which recently began, will continue into June 2024, and the second elevator installation, in the Thomas Penn building, will start in November and continue through the summer. 

Next up includes rebuilding over the original floor and plaster wall systems, which is expected to begin in late winter or early spring, Kern said. Room and common area furniture will be installed toward the tail end of the renovation period prior to students moving in for the academic year.

Kern added that the chimneys, which are part of the Quad’s “iconic architectural statement,” are also being worked on alongside other parts of the buildings.

“That’s pretty impressive: All those old chimneys that are getting structurally reinforced and rebuilt,” Kern said. “Really, really looking nice.”

To accommodate the closure of the lower Quad entrance in Riepe, a new Quad entrance was opened next to the Butcher building in Ware College House.

Credit: Ethan Young

To accommodate the closure of the lower Quad entrance in Riepe, a new Quad entrance was opened next to the Butcher building in Ware College House.

Kern said that the University has not decided how students will be able to enter or exit the Quad when Ware is closed next year, adding that a student had a similar question during a recent town hall event.

This past summer, initial window, roof, and masonry repair work was completed on the McClelland building, according to Kern. This work will be completed alongside the work on Ware.

“The contractor, construction manager, and the college house team are actually meeting in the next couple of weeks to lay out some options for how [entry/exit] will play out, and they haven’t finalized exactly how the entry/exit will work,” Kern said.

To prevent disruptive noise, according to Kern, a one-room buffer zone was created on either side of the construction to prevent sound from traveling to student rooms near the construction site. Kern said that he is not aware of any noise complaints regarding the renovations.

Solomon Graf, a first-year Engineering student living in Fisher Hassenfeld Class of 1928, said that the renovations have not bothered him too much, and he has only rarely heard noise related to the construction.

“It’s a good thing…The Quad is so nice on the outside, [but] it’s a little musty, a little gross, on the inside,” Graf said. “They’re going to make it nicer, hopefully, [and] it will be a better freshman experience.”

To accommodate first years who would otherwise have lived in the Quad, Lauder College House and Van Pelt Manor in Gregory College House — previously four-year dorms — are now exclusively first-year housing.

The renovations in the Quad are part of a larger assortment of recent and ongoing construction projects across campus, including Stouffer Hall, where renovations were completed this past summer.