Major Drexel Project Updates as of August 2019
Academy of Natural Sciences Library and New Exhibit Hall Renovation: The Academy of Natural Sciences is renovating the existing Library Reading Room into an exhibit space and consolidating library functions adjacent to the Reading Room. This project also includes the relocation and enlargement of the Wolf Rare Book Room to improve climate control for the archives. The project is under construction, with completion anticipated in February 2020.
Bentley Residence Hall Renovation and Expansion: With the help of a $5 million gift from Greg S. Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems, and his wife Caroline, the University is renovating and expanding Bentley Hall, with American Campus Communities serving as the developer. The renovation addressed the needs of the building envelope and modernized the building throughout to provide an improved living experience. First-year students will begin moving into the renovated building in mid-September. The project will also include an approximately 11,500 square foot, two-story addition to provide critical space to relocate the Pennoni Honors College into the heart of the campus, building a cohesive living-learning community and a stronger physical identity, to be completed in spring 2020.
Buckley Bubble: Construction is complete on the underlying infrastructure to support a seasonal, air-supported structure over Buckley Recreational Field that will allow year-round use of the field by providing an environmentally controlled environment during the colder months. First inflation of the "bubble" is expected in late fall 2019.
Center for Automation Technology (CAT) Renovations: Construction is in progress on approximately 5,685 square feet of wet research laboratories and technical support spaces for the College of Engineering in the CAT. The renovations include two new wet research laboratories on the first floor for Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, one on the second floor for Materials Engineering, and two on the third floor for Chemical and Biological Engineering. The project is currently 60 percent complete and anticipated to be completed in winter 2019.
College of Computing and Informatics at 3675 Market Street: Renovations of Drexel's leased space on the 9th floor will be completed before the start of the fall 2019 term.
Main Building Improvements: Ongoing work over the next several years will help ensure this National Register building continues to serve the University in the years to come. Beginning this summer, the roof and skylights will be replaced. In preparation for this work, protective netting has been suspended across the ceiling of the Great Court, and repair work has been advanced to forestall any further water infiltration at the main skylight location.
Queen Lane HVAC Upgrades: Existing rooftop air handling units are being replaced with new custom units serving the vivarium space, including new building automation controls for enhanced temperature and humidity control. Existing HVAC components in the cage wash and vivarium areas are being upgraded for more accurate pressurization control. One of the three rooftop air handling units has been replaced, and interior work was approximately 90% completed as of mid-June.
URBN Center Mechanical Systems Upgrade: The HVAC system for the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design has been upgraded to address the shortage of cooling capacity in the existing system.
Vidas Bubble: Construction has begun for a seasonal air-supported structure over three existing tennis courts at the Vidas Athletics Complex, allowing year-round play. The facility is expected to be prepared for seasonal use in late fall 2019.
Third-Party Project Updates as of August 2019
Arlen Specter US Squash Center (US Squash): Construction is in progress to convert the Armory into a national center for US Squash. The project involves renovating the Armory's interior, creating 20 courts, athletic training facilities, audience amenities and community use spaces. Construction is planned to be substantially complete in early fall 2020 to host the US Open Squash Tournament. Click here for more details.
College of Medicine Location at Tower Health (developer: Equus Capital Partners): Tower Health will construct a 150,000-square-foot building for a four-year Drexel University College of Medicine location at Tower Health in West Reading. Tower Health will partner with Equus Capital Partners, Ltd. to build the new campus on Parcel 9 of The Knitting Mills redevelopment, which was formally known as The VF Outlets. The site, which is 0.6 miles from Reading Hospital and was selected in part for its proximity to the hospital, is targeted to be operational for the 2021-22 academic year. Design development is complete for the core-and-shell, and design is underway for the fit-out of educational spaces.
Drexel Academic Tower at University City High School Site (Wexford Science & Technology): Wexford will develop a new Academic Tower on the former University City High School site that will house the College of Nursing and Health Professions, relocating the college from Center City to University City under a long-term lease agreement with Wexford. The building size will be minimally 258,000 square feet but possibly up to 450,000 square feet, the maximum allowable scale on that particular site, within which Drexel will have an approximate 29-year lease and occupy minimally 258,000 square feet. Design is now underway, and the construction of this facility is expected to begin during spring of 2020, with a substantial completion delivery of mid-2022.
Powel Elementary/Science Leadership Academy Middle School (Wexford Science & Technology): Drexel and Wexford are developing the school building on the same site as the Academic Tower. Powel/SLA-MS will be leased to the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) over a long-term lease with Drexel, and the SDP will bear responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the building and grounds. Financing of the project is made possible by a number of contributors, including an initial major contribution from the Lenfest Foundation, proceeds from the sale of an undevelopable parcel by Drexel to Wexford, a charitable contribution by Wexford, a contribution from SDP, and other public and private sources, including New Market Tax Credits. Design has reached the construction document phase, building permit applications are underway, and a formal groundbreaking is expected in September 2019, with a project completion targeted for fall 2020 or spring 2021 occupancy.
Schuylkill Yards (Brandywine Realty Trust): The grand opening of Drexel Square, the large public realm space serving as the gateway to Schuylkill Yards, was held on June 10. Spark Therapeutics has possession of floors one, two and three of the former Bulletin Building, now known as 3025 Market Street, adjacent to the new park. Scaffolding has been erected, and demolition has begun in preparation for the installation of the new facade, which will be completed in the first quarter of 2020. This work and the removal and construction of a new head house by SEPTA, to be started in January 2020, will form the Schuylkill Yards Gateway.