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A Trio of Buildings for Science Research at Penn

This summer and fall three new teaching/research buildings in the sciences will be opened and operating at Penn, at an investment of $179 million. These buildings are reflective of Penn’s prowess in Life Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and Bioengineering.   

Carolyn Lynch Laboratory

Carolyn Hoff Lynch Building

SAS celebrated the opening of the Carolyn Lynch Laboratory with a reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony this May. The building provides research space for faculty in the Department of Biology and is the new home of Penn’s Genomics Institute.

The Carolyn Lynch Laboratory, the work of the architectural firm Ellenzweig Associates, is designed to allow for the kind of interdisciplinary collaboration that is essential to research in the life sciences. A key feature of the new building is its flexible research modules, which can be reconfigured to accommodate emerging research priorities and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Special facilities in the building include wet laboratories for biology and genomics research, plant growth chambers and greenhouses, conference rooms, faculty offices, and animal, plant, and fish facilities.

SAS Dean Rebecca Bushnell commented that “This building is key to our continued success in the life sciences, and we are grateful that our outstanding faculty in biology and genomics can finally thrive in an environment that matches their talents. We eagerly anticipate the many important discoveries that will come from this space.”

The building is named in honor of Penn trustee and SAS overseer Carolyn Hoff Lynch, CW ’68, in recognition of her service for the past 10 years as chair of the advisory board for the biology department, as well as a leadership gift from her and her husband, Peter S. Lynch, WG ‘68 (Almanac February 15, 2005).

Groundbreaking for the Carolyn Lynch Laboratory took place in the fall of 2003. This construction is the first part of the School’s larger plan for a life sciences complex which, when complete, will offer 193,000 square feet of state-of-the-art research and teaching space. The $61.2 million cost also includes planning for Phase II of Life Sciences building.

Vernon and Shirley Hill Pavilion

Hill Pavilion

The Vernon and Shirley Hill Pavilion is the School of Veterinary Medicine’s first new building in Philadelphia in 25 years. This building will be the most state-of-the-art veterinary teaching and research facility in the world. It is being erected adjacent to the School on a lot bound by Baltimore, Woodland, and University Avenues. It will contain two floors of teaching and library space, and two floors of research laboratories. A $10 million gift from Vernon and Shirley Hill to the School of Veterinary Medicine was announced last fall (Almanac October 4, 2005). “The gift from the Hills,” said Dr. Gutmann, “is the largest gift the Veterinary School has ever received from a living donor.” The building will open in the fall of 2006. Vernon W. Hill, II, W ’67, is the founder and chairman of Commerce Bancorp, Inc. Shirley Hill is the founder and president of InterArch, an architecture and design firm in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.  The Hill Pavilion will be the new academic center of the School of Veterinary Medicine. It will include surgery centers, teaching and library space, research laboratories and a vivarium.

“The gift from the Hills,” said Dr. Gutmann, “is the largest gift the Veterinary School has ever received from a living donor.  It allows us to continue and expand the world-class teaching and research mission of the School.” It is designed by Balinger Architects. The cost: $75.7 million. Completion: fall (September/October) 2006.

Skirkanich Hall

Skirkanich Hall

Penn and the School of Engineering and Applied Science have undertaken a major new initiative in bioengineering, involving a substantial expansion of the faculty and the construction of Skirkanich Hall, a 58,000 square foot research and teaching facility. This project springs from a $14 million Leadership Development Award from the Whitaker Foundation (Almanac July 17, 2001), and a $10 million gift from Overseer and Trustee Peter Skirkanich (W ’65) and his wife Geri, the largest gift by an individual in Penn Engineering’s history (Almanac April 2, 2002). Peter Skirkanich is founder and president of Fox Asset Management, a New Jersey investment management and counseling firm.

This new state-of-the-art facility includes classrooms, offices and wet lab space. Skirkanich Hall will also improve circulation through SEAS and create a grand entrance from 33rd Street. The architects, husband and wife team Todd Williams/Billie Tsien of New York, are known for bringing natural light into their buildings. The cost: $42.2 million. Groundbreaking was in  2003 on the site of the Pender Laboratory with demolition of Pender  also in 2003. Completion: this summer, sees the faculty beginning to move in, and August brings about the last of the construction. The official opening is fall 2006.



  Almanac, Vol. 53, No. 1, July 11, 2006


July 11, 2006
Volume 53 Number 1


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