PhilaU Community Breaks Ground on New College of Design, Engineering and Commerce Building

President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D., members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students and friends of the University joined to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new College of Design, Engineering and Commerce (DEC) building.

During the ceremony, President Spinelli touted the innovative design of the unique 38,500-square-foot building that will house the new College of Design, Engineering and Commerce. “The new DEC building will have a dramatic effect on the campus in countless ways and, in particular, it will dramatically affect students’ academic experiences.”

The College of Design, Engineering and Commerce offers an integrated curriculum that retains the core learning of each discipline while forging new collaborations among the fields of design, engineering and business. By bringing these disciplines together, the College pushes students to think beyond the boundaries of existing disciplines and focus on market-driven innovation through teamwork, collaboration and connections with industry partners.

The facility – which will be open for the spring 2013 semester – will provide flexible space to facilitate transdisciplinary, project-based learning and collaborative problem solving. Designed to meet LEED standards, the building’s design features a distinctive metal shell for climate control and a two-story forum space for exhibits and presentations.

To meet the needs of students, faculty and industry partners in a collaborative setting, the building will include flexible space for studios, seminars, conference meetings and team projects.  This will allow teaching and work space to be reconfigurable as projects and curricula evolve.

D. Walter Cohen, DDS, executive committee chair of the Power to Innovate: The Campaign for Philadelphia University and member of the Board of Trustees, highlighted the significance of the groundbreaking ceremony and its importance as a defining moment in the University’s history.  “I am very proud of the progress we have made and am eager to begin construction on this signature building for Philadelphia University.”

A committee of faculty members and deans, led by the provost’s office, worked with the architect to design the space to meet the program’s unique needs. “Like the collaborative learning that will take place within its walls, the design process of this building was a collaboration among many people,” noted President Spinelli. 

The architect for the building is Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbot of Boston, who also designed the awarding-winning Paul J. Gutman Library and The Kanbar Campus Center on campus.

“The opportunity to help shape the environment with a new building on campus is an honor for my firm,” said Janette Blackburn, LEED AP, principal at Shepley Bulfinch. She noted that the partnership with the University community has been incredible, “as we work together to explore, collaborate and innovate.”

President Spinelli, Cohen and Blackburn donned hard hats and grabbed shovels to officially break ground on the building.

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