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University of Pennsylvania Builds $120M Center

Wed February 16, 2000 - Northeast Edition
Chris Volker

The new 29,729-square-meter (320,000 sq. ft.) Wharton School academic center, Jon M. Huntsman Hall, currently is under construction on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The cost of the project, located at 38th and Walnut streets, is estimated at $120 million and is being funded entirely by philanthropic gifts. To date, more than $100 million has been raised from Wharton alumni and friends of the School. The completion date for the project is 2002.

“Excavation began in the summer of 1999 and was recently completed,” said Vince DiAntonio of L.F. Driscoll Construction, the construction manager for Huntsman Hall. “Everything is on schedule and the first crane will be on site in the near future. In fact, three cranes will be used in total to handle the construction of the project, one from Carson and the other two from Grassi.”

DiAntonio stated that the structures will be steel fabricated with a 1.2-meter (4 ft.) matte foundation. He said that the building of the hall will contain three components — a three-story wing, a four-story wing and a cylindrical tower. Each of the three structures will feature masonry curtain walls, punched windows and copper roofs.

University of Pennsylvania President Judith Rodin noted that the building will “enhance the entire campus community as it provides new opportunities for Wharton,” giving the school a facility that matches its needs and its reputation. The two-story Jay H. Baker Forum will be located at the center of Huntsman Hall, adjacent to undergraduate computer labs, group workstations and study spaces. It is the largest single space in the building and the first and only Wharton facility large enough to accommodate an entire undergraduate class — up to 500 people — indoors.

The building is being designed by the architectural firm of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC, New York, NY.

The 372-square-meter (4,000 sq. ft.) Forum is the largest single space in the building and will be the center of undergraduate life and activity, accommodating up to 500 people for special events.

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