Penn GSE breaks ground for historic building expansion

April 21, 2022
Standing from left to right with shovels, Doug Korn, Wendell Pritchett, Pam Grossman, and Philip Chen.

The official groundbreaking for the Graduate School of Education building expansion and renovation project. From left, GSE Board of Advisors Chair Doug Korn, Penn Interim President Wendell Pritchett, GSE Dean Pam Grossman, and project architect Philip Chen, principal and president of Ann Beha Architects. (Image: Krista Patton)

Penn GSE’s much-awaited, major building expansion project officially began on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by about 100 Penn GSE community members and guests. Speakers included Penn GSE Dean Pam Grossman, Interim University President Wendell Pritchett, Penn GSE Board of Advisors Chair Doug Korn, and Philip Chen, principal and president of Ann Beha Architects in Boston.

The School’s student population has doubled to 1,400 in the 20 years since the 3700 Walnut Street building was remodeled in 2001. As a result, the workspaces for the GSE community have been scattered across and beyond campus.

“The expansion is going to create cutting-edge learning spaces for our students—and fulfills our vision of a ‘One Penn GSE’ by bringing our community together in a single building here in the heart of the University of Pennsylvania campus, where our students, faculty, and staff can collaborate in new ways,” said Dean Grossman.

Change and evolution are fundamental in education, Interim President Pritchett said, and require new tools, new technologies, and new social climates. “Education should not merely just reflect our own beliefs and the current state of society back at us. Education must bring light to the dark corners of our world. It should illuminate our minds and help us envision new ways to create better societies for all,” said Dr. Pritchett, who is on GSE’s faculty as the James S. Riepe Presidential Professor of Law and Education.

Construction for the $35.6 million project will start in May and is expected to be completed in August 2023, for fall occupancy. The central four-story building at 3700 Walnut Street will be linked with nearby Stiteler Hall, former home of the political science department.

Read the full story at Penn Today.

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