This summer has been busy with the completion of substantial facility projects at Philadelphia University aimed at supporting Nexus Learning and enhancing the student experience.
Fashion and textile students started classes in the new state-of-the-art $3.1 million Fashion and Textiles Futures Center (FTFC) in Hayward Hall. Students will be eating in the newly renovated Ravenhill Dining Hall. There is a new active Nexus Learning Hub in the Paul J. Gutman Library, and the 2016 Energy Payback project that converted most of campus to transportation gas and removed more than 20,000 gallons of underground oil storage was completed this summer and new HVAC was installed in the A&D Center. This particular project will save the University more than $200,000 in utilities annually while reducing our carbon footprint.
Other upgrades include new roofs for Haggar and Weber Halls; new furnishings for Downs Auditorium; new ceilings and energy-efficient lighting in Fortess Hall; a new rear façade on Archer Hall; expansion and updates at PhilaU’s Bucks County and New Jersey campuses; as well as a dozen other initiatives.
Fashion and Textiles Futures Center
The FTFC is a space with integrative studios and workspaces in which companies can partner with faculty experts and students in the University’s internationally ranked fashion and textiles programs. Students and faculty are often assembled in transdisciplinary teams and work on projects that produce innovative industry solutions.
The Center includes design studios, display windows, digital printing facility, fabrication labs, collaborative learning spaces, textile production facilities, presentation spaces and faculty offices.
“The FTFC represents the University’s commitment to developing transformational teaching spaces,” said Michael Leonard, David and Lillian Rea Dean’s Chair and academic dean, School of Design and Engineering, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce. “The FTFC represents new ways of viewing the typical fashion design and textile design studio as more of a ‘collaboratorium’ where disciplinary strengths can evolve and combine.”
Read more about it here.
Ravenhill Dining Hall
The $531,000 Ravenhill Dining Hall project was a comprehensive renovation of all the main floor dining areas, said J. Thomas Becker, associate vice president for operations at PhilaU. Among the highlights: removing the breakout room partitions to add more general dining area; a new layout to open up the space with new furnishings, including countertops, booths and flexible seating formats; new audio and acoustic treatments; bathroom renovations; new carpet and finishes; and conversion of the private dining room to a Nexus Learning-style meeting and dining area.
PhilaU donated the old furnishings to the Philadelphia Furniture Bank whose mission is to turn empty houses into welcoming homes by providing no-cost furnishings to those in need, Becker said.
Gutman Library Instructional Space
In the spring, Jeffrey Ashley, director of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning, proposed that the Gutman Library’s instructional space be modified to be more reflective of learning spaces within existing Nexus Learning Hubs.
“The new Gutman Library Nexus Learning Hub dually enhances instructional workshops that are active and engaging and provides students with the space, flexible furniture and technology to facilitate active and collaborative interactions when workshops are not being held,” Ashley said.
The adjacent area to this instructional space invites students to be collaborative through movable, comfortable furniture in a space equipped with both digital (monitors, interactive whiteboards) and analog (whiteboards). “The instructional space now mirrors the configuration and technologies that we see in Nexus Learning Hubs,” he said. “This space will enable students to further their collaborative, peer-to-peer learning when not in class and in the absence of instructors.”
The $1.3 million 2016 Energy Payback, primarily a design/build project developed by Honeywell and Plant Operations in cooperation with PGW, included:
* Removal and environmental closure of over 20,000 gallons of underground oil storage tanks at Downs, Reichlin, Search, Althouse and Hayward Halls.
* Conversion of those boilers from oil and to transportation rate gas with 72-hour emergency oil back up for greater efficiency and lower cost.
* Installation of new underground gas services.
* Removal of the original HVAC equipment from the A&D Center and installation of new high-efficiency water-cooled heat pumps.
* Kanbar and Ravenhill Dining Hall energy improvements.