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Major Drexel Project Updates as of November 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. The project also includes 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. The bubble has been inflated and will be ready for student use on Dec. 2.
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 85-percent complete and anticipated to be completed by the end of December 2019.
Main Building Roof and Skylight: The University is preparing to undertake exterior renovations to the Main Building, including roof system replacement and associated repairs, replacement of the primary skylight, and a new lightning protection system. The renovations are expected to begin in spring 2020, with completion in the fall.
Powel Elementary/Science Leadership Academy Middle School: Drexel and partner Wexford Science & Technology are designing and constructing the Powel/SLA-MS 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. Design is nearing completion, a foundation permit has been received, and a formal groundbreaking is scheduled for Dec. 9, with a project completion targeted for spring 2021 occupancy. Click here for more details.
Vidas Bubble: Construction is complete for a seasonal air-supported structure over three existing tennis courts at the Vidas Athletics Complex, allowing year-round play. The bubble has been inflated and will be ready for student use on Dec. 2.
Third-Party Project Updates as of November 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 is planning to construct a 150,000-square-foot building for the Drexel University College of Medicine location at Tower Health in West Reading. On behalf of Drexel, Tower Health is partnering with Equus Capital Partners to redevelop a site located 0.6 miles from Reading Hospital. The building is targeted to be operational for the 2021-22 academic year. SLAM Collective is the architect. Contractor mobilization and site demolition are beginning in early November, and design development is complete for the core-and-shell and 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. Click here for more details.
Schuylkill Yards (Brandywine Realty Trust): Spark Therapeutics has possession of floors one, two and three of the former Bulletin Building, now known as 3025 Market Street. Installation of the new east façade has begun and 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. Meanwhile, Brandywine has completed the design development for the initial two towers on JFK Boulevard. The West tower (approximately 500K SF) will consist of mainly residential units with office and retail space on the lower floors, and the East tower (approximately 750K SF) will consist of large corporate office and possibly laboratory uses, with retail on the ground floor. They are expected to begin construction on the West tower in spring 2020, and construction of the East tower thereafter, depending upon the closing of a large corporate tenant.