Community College of Philadelphia’s Sustainable Expansion Project

It’s difficult to quantify the impact the new 47,600 square-foot, potentially LEED-Silver-Certified Community College of Philadelphia expansion at 17th and Spring Garden Streets will have on the surrounding neighborhood when it’s finished this summer. According to Forrest Huffman Ph. D., a professor of real estate and finance at Temple University, it could lead to greater commercial activity. Builders from Gilbane Building Company broke ground on the site in November 2008, and this week a construction worker at the site said the project was scheduled to be completed by this summer.

The construction of the CCP’s new pavilion is part of a three-phase $56M expansion project that will modernize the college’s preexisting Bonnell, West and Mint buildings to accommodate a student body that continues to grow. Full-time student enrollment has increased 12 percent over the past two years, and the campus that was built for 16,000 students now serves more than 39,000 total students, according to a school spokesperson. The Pavilion, built by Philly architects Burt Hill, features sustainable elements like recycled carpet and linoleum, green roofs and energy harvesting.

When the Pavilion opens to students next fall it will be new home to the University’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs, a dining facility, Admissions Office and Welcome Center. School administrators are excited the project will help them “better serve new and current students,” but the few students we talked to on 17th Street had no clue when the Pavilion was set to open or the scope of the school’s project.

The final two phases of the project will happen throughout 2012, according to a spokesperson; that includes redesigning the entrance area and new offices on the first floor of the Bonnell building for the registrar, admissions and financial aid offices, a move that will create a “one-stop” enrollment procedure for students who now have to visit numerous buildings to enroll. An 8,000-square-foot addition will make that possible.

Additional improvements include new classrooms and state-of-the-art laboratories in the Bonnell and West buildings to help school officials further their instruction in the high-demand Construction Technology, Computer-Assisted Design and Communication Arts programs; new theater space and improved facilities for the Sound Recording and Music Technology programs; and a new Integrated Business Services Center on the ground floor of the Mint Building.

The CCP expansion is funded by state capital dollars, a school-wide fundraising campaign (so far the campaign has raised $7M towards its $10M goal) and the school’s own financing, according to a spokesperson. This month also marks the completion of a $31M project at the campus’ Northeast Regional Center off Woodhaven Road in the Northeast. Plans for renovations to the campus’ West Regional Center in University City are on the horizon. —Lou Mancinelli