For most Penn students, the Wistar Institute has long been a mystery. Located at 3601 Spruce St. across from freshman dorms at the Quad, Wistar covers an entire block in the heart of campus despite the fact that it's not affiliated with the University. Though one of their buildings is historic and attractive, the majority of the Institute's buildings were last renovated in the 1970s. As such, they've been uninviting and looked crappy for decades. So it was with great joy three years ago that we told you that Wistar was about to undergo a massive renovation and expansion.
For most of the last three years, the block has been a construction site. It's been noisy, dusty, and the food trucks have all had to move across the street. But we're going on the record (especially since we weren't personally impacted in any way) saying it was worth it. The new-look Wistar Institute is a vast improvement over the old, with an older building getting new windows and first floor paneling, and a shiny new seven story structure replacing a monolith to the east. Ballinger did the design work.
For the unfamiliar, the Wistar Institute does research in the fields of cancer and immunology. With their expansion complete, they've now got a new 200-seat auditorium to hold symposia and events for the public. More importantly, they have five stories of new laboratory space to help them more effectively pursue the cure for cancer and new vaccines. And perhaps most importantly, the food trucks can now park on the north side of the street again!