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Renovation for Penn's Graduate School of Education, which features newly accessible areas and collaborative student spaces, was completed in August. 

Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

On Oct. 25, the $35.6 million expansion and renovation of Penn’s Graduate School of Education was unveiled.

Penn President Liz Magill, GSE Board of Advisors Chair and Wharton graduate Jeffrey McKibben, GSE Dean Katharine Strunk, former GSE Dean Pam Grossman, and former GSE Board of Advisors Chair Doug Korn were all present at the unveiling. 

The 18-month renovation project, which began in April 2022 and was completed in August, joined 3700 Walnut St. and Stiteler Hall. Grossman launched the project as part of her 2017 "One Penn GSE" vision, envisioning a unified space that brings the entire GSE community together in one building. 

Prior to the renovation, Penn’s GSE was spread across six different buildings across Philadelphia. However, a doubling in student enrollment over the past two decades and limited renovations since the buildings’ creation in the 1960s stressed existing infrastructure. Students and administrators expressed discontent over the old buildings' lack of collaborative areas and community feeling.

Annum Architects took the lead on the project, which encompasses 33,000 square feet of newly built or renovated classrooms, collaborative spaces, student spaces, and newly accessible areas. This includes a green roof, an innovation lab maker space, and a virtual reality lab. 

Stiteler Hall will now host Catalyst@Penn, a learning hub on campus featuring the latest technology for education and innovation, and the new McGraw Center for Educational Leadership, sponsored by a $16 million gift from the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation, the largest donation in GSE’s history.

The building also received a new outward-facing entrance. Magill, in her remarks at the opening ceremony, noted how design elements, like the heavy use of glass and the outward-facing entrance, were intentionally designed to connect students with the community and inspire them to impact the world.

“It came out even better than we could have imagined...It’s really remarkable,” Grossman said in an interview with Penn Today.