Drexel trustees, students, faculty and professional staff gathered in the courtyard of Creese Student Center and MacAlister Hall on February 21, to officially kick off the $97.6 million Chestnut Square project with a ceremonial groundbreaking.
“As the model for what we hope to do through our new strategic and campus master plans, this is one of the most significant projects Drexel has ever undertaken,” said President John A. Fry. He credited Jim Tucker, senior vice president of Student Life and Administrative Services, and Jamie Wilhelm, executive vice president of Public/Private Transactions for American Campus Communities (ACC), for their instrumental roles in forging the partnership between Drexel and ACC.
“This project is a great example of how universities can work with developers to improve student housing and retail opportunities without diverting funds from the core academic projects that are central to our mission,” said Drexel Board of Trustees Chairman Richard A. Greenawalt.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was also among the speakers who donned hard hats and held shovels for the ceremonial dig. In his remarks, he praised President Fry for his “bold” vision for the future of Drexel, and noted how ACC’s nearly $98 million investment in Drexel would benefit the local economy.
The project will feature 361,200 square feet of mixed-use student housing and retail space and will add 861 student beds. It is scheduled for completion September 2013.
Participating in the ceremonial dig were (pictured left to right in photo):
Adam Trosko, President, Undergraduate Student Government Association
Kevin Smith and Graham Wyatt, Partners, Robert A.M. Stern Architects
James E. Wilhelm, Executive Vice President of Public/Private Transactions, American Campus Communities
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
Richard A. Greenawalt, Chairman, Drexel Board of Trustees
John A. Fry, President, Drexel University
James R. Tucker, Senior Vice President, Student Life and Administrative Services
Brian Keech, Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Office of the President
Cameron Mactavish, Principal, Voith & Mactavish
Robert Buckley, Trustee, Chairman of the Buildings and Properties Committee