May 11, 1999
Volume 45
Number 32

Celebrating Research:

PennMed's New High-Rise, New NIH Rankings to Match

On Thursday, May 13, the Penn Health System will stage two celebrations.

By day, the occasion is Research Day, with a program honoring faculty and research team who have brought Penn to second place in the nation in NIH Research funding.

That night, it's the official opening of the largest facility in the history of the University, the $149 million, 15-story Biomedical Research Building known as BRB II/III because it represents the second and third phases of a complex that began with BRB I, since renamed Stellar-Chance Laboratories.

The completion of BRB II/III, which faces Osler Circle off Civic Center Boulevard, creates a fully-enclosed pedestrian loop, linking by bridges and buildings the entire Medical Center and School of Medicine complex. It will draw together many of the disciplines now housed in ten other buildings throughout the System, bringing some 800 researchers and support staff under one very high roof and consolidating a number of programs and departments that have programmatic affiliations, Dean William N. Kelley said.

For example, floors 10-12 will include Cell and Developmental Biology, while floors 12 and 13 house the Center for Reproductive Biology. The Department of Medicine, the Institute for Human Gene Therapy and the Cancer Center also share space in BRB II/III. "This building will permit us to reach a synergy across many different disciplines and significantly improve the efficiency of our research programs," the Dean said. "Now there will be shared recruitment of faculty who are working in the same building. This is important progress because it provides researchers with the ability to interact with their peers on a daily basis."

The 384,000 gross square feet encompass 11 floors of large open laboratories, each with its own conference room/library and lounge. On the lower two floors are a 250-seat auditorium, a cafe, a bookstore and seminar rooms.

Architects for BRB II/III were Perkins and Will of Chicago, the AIA's 1999 "Firm of the Year." The project also had a community advisory board set up to maximize the participation of minority and women-owned businesses in its construction, and PennHealth retained the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition to manage and monitor community participation. Of the 1500 construction workers who participated, over 20% were women and/or minorities whose participation represented $29 million, or 28% of the construction cost of BRB II/III, according to a PennMed news release.

Sundance / Hamilton Square:

Groundbreaking May 12

Tomorrow's noon groundbreaking for the Sundance project takes place on the northwest corner of 40th and Walnut, where Hamilton Square's glass-fronted parking garage and supermarket (above) will rise. The Sundance Cinemas will be entered from the south side of Walnut (circle), between the Rotunda and the present Hamilton Village Shops.

Welcome to Commencement '99

To the Penn Community:

Penn's Commencement is a wonderful opportunity to gather together in celebration of the impressive accomplishments of our students. On behalf of the Trustees, Officers, and Deans and their faculties, we would like to invite all members of the Penn Community to attend the University's 243rd Commencement on Monday May 17, 1999. We are very fortunate to have Secretary of the Treasury Robert E. Rubin as our Commencement Speaker this year.

Led by flag bearers and bagpipes, the academic procession steps forth from the Annenberg Center at 9:15 a.m., then pauses for approximately 45 minutes in front of College Hall to applaud the graduating students as they pass through our ranks. The procession then proceeds to Franklin Field where the ceremony begins at 10:15 a.m.

If you wish to attend the festivities, please seek advance approval from your supervisor to assure that the business needs of your department will continue to be met. Whether you wish to join the festivities around Locust Walk and Blanche Levy Park or come to the ceremony itself (tickets are not necessary), we very much hope that you will join us in this University-wide culmination of the academic year.

Judith Rodin, President Robert Barchi, Provost Rosemary McManus, Secretary

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 32, May 11, 1999


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