Major Drexel Project Updates as of September 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. Students will begin moving into the renovated building in mid-September. 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. 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.
Main Building Auditorium Refresh: The Main Building Auditorium got a new look this summer, with upgrades including new carpet, tile, stage floor refinishing, lighting, and a fresh coat of paint. All seating has also been replaced to incorporate tablet arms for all chairs.
Main Building Roof and Skylight: Ongoing work over the next several years will help ensure this National Register building continues to serve the University in the years to come. Early phase work includes replacement of the roof and skylights. 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.
Powel Elementary/Science Leadership Academy Middle School: Drexel and partner Wexford Science & Technology are developing the school building on the former University City High School site, at 36th and Filbert streets. 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. Design has reached the construction document phase, building permit applications are underway, and project completion is targeted for fall 2020 or spring 2021 occupancy. Click here for more details.
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 September 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. 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. Click here for more details.
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.