In This Section
First-Year Residence Hall
To better meet the needs of its students, University of the Sciences is planning to construct a new, mixed-use residence hall at 46th Street and Woodland Avenue. The new residence hall will set the standard for dynamic living and learning communities for science and health professional students. With state-of-the-art classroom, program, retail, living, and learning spaces, it will provide an environment worthy of the University’s high-performing students. Scheduled to open during the 2018–19 academic year, the 426-bed residence hall for first-year (U1) students will incorporate numerous sustainable features to achieve Green Globe certification.
“What an exciting moment in the development of University of the Sciences,” said University president Paul Katz, MD. “The new residence hall speaks to the University’s continued commitment to its students in providing the finest facilities in which they can grow and learn.”
The new building will house multiuse classrooms, retail spaces, and offices and apartments for Residence Life staff and feature an open-air plaza for students and neighbors to use. The U1 residence hall, which will replace housing the University currently owns, will sit on the site of the now-closed Alexander Wilson Elementary School. USciences took ownership of the site from the School District of Philadelphia in July 2015.
The U1 building will be U-shaped with an open courtyard to Woodland Avenue that provides opportunities for interaction and collaboration—key facets of an overall campus master plan to activate Woodland Avenue. The ends of each of the U wing will feature two active, ground floor retail locations. One wing will provide needed multiuse classrooms that will replace ones the University will lose when a campus building, Alumni Hall, is eventually razed, while the other wing will serve as Residence Life offices and staff apartments. The upper floors of the new residence hall will contain double-occupancy rooms with private baths. Lounges, study spaces, and laundry amenities are strategically located throughout each floor.
The University has been working closely with nationally recognized partners from Philadelphia-based Campus Apartments as well as Design Collective to oversee the details for each phase of planning and development, while campus master-plan specialists Sasaki Associates played a large role in helping to conceptualize the activate Woodland Avenue strategy.
“The new first-year residence hall is the first of a multiphase effort to improve the quality of our housing and learning facilities to enhance interaction and collaboration at the University and to attract more students to our institution,” said Dan Severino, director of facilities at University of the Sciences. “Through this project, we also strive to energize this corridor of Woodland Avenue and further integrate our campus and University with our neighboring community. The retail and public space will create a new hub within the community, which will benefit the neighborhood for years to come.”
The University is actively engaging with its surrounding West Philadelphia community to ensure opportunities for feedback on this project. For example, community feedback showed a desire to retain the large mural created by the Mural Arts Program on the existing Alexander Wilson Elementary School; therefore current designs look to incorporate the mural on the new building. The University’s goal is to use this project as an opening to spearhead even greater collaboration between the campus and its neighboring communities.
The announcement of the new residence hall follows on the heels of the recently opened Integrated Professional Education Complex (IPEX) that is part of the University’s goal of transforming the campus to meet the needs of our students and faculty.
Sustainability: Storm Water Management
The courtyard of the new residence hall (as seen on page 3) is designed to showcase the site’s sustainability to the community and student body. Stormwater management is a high priority in this courtyard—runoff from the building’s roofs and from the courtyard’s hardscape will be directly routed to a series of bioretention planting areas. Given the site’s steepness, terracing the courtyard down to the streetscape level makes for a cascading of the stormwater. As each planter fills with water, it will pour into the next lower planter through a series of highly visible weir walls, until it reaches the lowest and largest bioretention planter located near the public plaza portion of the courtyard. After a storm, students and the public will be able to sit and watch as the water cascades through the system. Treating the site’s stormwater on site through bioretention planters will clean pollution from surface runoff, allow groundwater tables to recharge, reduce the burden on the city’s sewer system, and create habitat for pollinators.
In The News
Debt downgrade for University of the Sciences
March 24, 2017, Philadelphia Inquirer
Mapping major University City projects in the works
November 17, 2016, Curbed Philly
Can Philly afford to maintain its huge, aging mural collection?
October 27, 2016, Philadelphia Inquirer
Community Said Goodbye To The Wilson School
October 5, 2016, UC Review
Community hosts send-off for neighborhood school
October 4, 2016, Philadelphia Metro
Campus Apartments Unveils 3 Projects
September 29, 2016, Multi-House News
A fond farewell to Alexander Wilson School
September 26, 2016, Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News
Campus Apartments to build new $50M project in University City
September 20, 2016, Philadelphia Business Journal
University of the Sciences Plans New Mixed-Use Dorm Building
August 4, 2016, Bisnow
Civic Design Review board weighs in on three proposals
August 3, 2016, Philly Voice
A University of the Sciences dorm and Woods Square were also given the green light
August 3, 2016, Curbed Philly
Woods Square and new buildings at Penn and USciences pass design review
August 2, 2016, newsworks.org
3 big University City, East Kensington mixed-uses head to design review
August 1, 2016, Curbed Philly
University of the Sciences plans new dorm on West Philly campus
July 22, 2016, Philadelphia Inquirer
Resolution passes to extend Spruce Hill zoning authority to include USciences building
April 14, 2016, West Philly Local
University of The Sciences Unveils First Phase of Its Master Plan: Reconstruction
of The Former Wilson School Site to Residents
April 6, 2016, UC Review
Design Collective to Design New University of the Sciences Dorm
April 1, 2016, Curbed Philly
USciences unveils building plan for old Wilson School at 46th and Woodland
March 31, 2016, West Philly Local
What's going on with that school? Open forum on USciences Campus Master Plan this
March 29, 2016, West Philly Local
Neighbors invited to USciences community meeting this Tuesday
November 30, 2015, West Philly Local
Community meeting at USciences this Thursday
August 18, 2015, West Philly Local
University of the Sciences to reach out to local community through quarterly meetings
December 15, 2014, West Philly Local
U. of Sciences buys Alexander Wilson School building for student housing
October 27, 2014, West Philly Local