Drexel’s New-Look Quad Will Feature Campus Green, Renovated Korman Center
Any university worth its salt has a centralized location where everyone gathers. At Penn, it’s College Green. Temple has Beury Beach at the Bell Tower. Drexel University students hang at the Quad around the Korman Center, a site that even the university admits has begun to look “increasingly out of date.” Well, that’s all about to change.
The university officially announced that it plans to “expand and repurpose much of the building as well as create the classic campus green” in the open space in and around the Korman Center. The newly minted Korman Quadrangle is possible due to an $8 million gift from the Korman Family Foundation. Drexel matched the gift with another $8 million. According to a press release, construction is expected to begin in June 2016 and be completed in fall 2017.
The plan is dynamic, not only for its green elements but also because it looks to transform multiple spaces and entry points in order to create that centralized meeting place. A new two-story glass solarium to the main entrance of the Korman Center will expand out into the newly formed Quadrangle area and incorporate a student lounge with a second floor classroom space. A second lounge will accompany the classroom space and provide views of the Quad, which sounds like it will be a great place for people watching.
A main theme of the new project is about connection. Sure, it’s a place where people will meet, sunbathe or chuck a frisbee around, but the design looks to create a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding buildings and environment. Plans call for a new entryway on the 33rd and Market side of the building that faces the statue of Mario the Dragon. A “planted screen wall” will freshen up the exterior of the building and “echo the biowall in the lobby of the neighboring Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building,” according to the release.
The Quadrangle part of the plan is intended to provide a better connection to the heart of the campus and strengthen the link to both Chestnut and Market Street. The area will see a “significant” amount of seating installed; increased trees and shrubbery; new walkways and more landscaping. In short, it will be a more inviting place for students, families, visitors and near-neighbors to congregate.
Drexel has invested heavily in the area around the Quad over the past few years. The Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building, Drexel’s first LEED certified building, was built at a cost for $70 million in 2011. Gerri C. Lebow Hall was unveiled in 2013 at a cost of $92 million.