Campus Receives Summer Makeover

Philadelphia University students will return to numerous enhancements around campus, due to an extensive list of construction projects and infrastructure improvements completed this summer.

“Our renovation and construction crews have been hard at work over the summer break,” said Tom Becker, assistant vice president of Operations for the Physical Plant, whose staff oversaw the renovation work this summer. “Students should definitely be impressed by the improvements that have been completed.”

As part of the classroom improvement initiative, enhancements were made to 29 classrooms across campus. Improvements included additional technology, 929 new desks and chairs, and fresh paint, shades, and carpeting where required.  In keeping with the University’s spirit of community and sustainability, replaced furniture was donated to Mercy Vocational High School, Cornerstone Christian Academy, Freire Charter School, Hope Charter School and Imhopet Charter School.

The first of several phases of a faculty office improvement initiative is underway. Over two-dozen offices in Hayward, Ravenhill Mansion, and Smith House will have new furniture, including desks and office chairs, and several more have been freshly painted along with their offices’ layouts reconfigured to provide additional space.

Other construction and enhancement projects completed this summer include:

Fortess Hall –Eighty-nine sets of new furniture were installed in residence rooms. Old beds and dressers were donated to Asociación Puertorriqueños An Marcha (APM), a non-profit organization in Philadelphia who are building an emergency family shelter. In addition all common areas of the hall have been brightened up with fresh paint or resurfaced with vibrant, new wall coverings.

Gutman Library – All lounge chairs in the library are being reupholstered with new fabric.  A cooling tower has also been replaced in the building. 

Hayward Hall – The Industrial Design Program was relocated from the Smith House into the totally refurbished ground floor of Hayward Hall. The new construction of the ground floor includes classrooms, three studios, a faculty office complex, CAD lab, Mac lab, and other work areas including a wood and metal shop. Upgrades have been made in other areas of the building to accommodate screen printing and two art studios, along with the addition of faculty offices. 

Independence Plaza – An automatic fire sprinkling system was added to the entire complex and renovations have been made to the lobby areas of each building. Eighty-seven furnished single bedrooms have been added within the existing apartments by reconfiguring the layout. Two existing apartments have been reconfigured to provide handicap-accessible apartments. The parking lot was reconfigured to provide parking for 44 additional cars, maintaining the same student/parking ratio that existed prior to the additional occupants.

Ravenhill Athletic Field – The soccer field playing surface was completely removed this summer. The subsurface soil was enriched and a new, state-of-the-art subsurface sports field drainage system was installed along with enhanced irrigation. The field was laser leveled and resurfaced with new, thick-cut, bluegrass sports turf. The grass has been growing since the beginning of July and is ready for the first day of practice on August 25.  With these improvements, it is now one of the finest natural grass playing fields in the Philadelphia area.

Smith House – The Landscape Architecture Program will move into Smith House this month. Renovations to the building include an interior-finish renewal, as well as new classrooms, seminar rooms, jury space, studios and a CAD lab for the program. Faculty offices have also been constructed. Exterior renovations are being made through the year.

Abraham J. Salaman ’58 Tennis Courts – As a result of a generous contribution to the University by lead donor Abraham J. Salaman ’58, the tennis courts were completely resurfaced and new fencing was installed.

Weber Hall – The model shops in Weber Hall have been expanded to allow students more work space. 

“These upgrades have enhanced the residential and academic facilities around campus,” said Randall Gentzler, vice president for Finance and Administration/Treasurer, who oversees the University’s capital improvement program. “The summer construction projects and improvements to our facilities will heighten the excitement and provide improved serviceability to faculty, staff and students returning to campus this fall.”

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