July 19, 2017

Planned as a model for environmentally intelligent construction practices and providing expanded, modern space for biology, engineering, and psychology, BEP will support the campus community by strengthening interdisciplinary connections between academic departments across the curriculum. This newsletter is one of a series of community updates about the project. We thank you for your continued cooperation and patience as this important effort gets underway. For additional information, visit the project website (swarthmore.edu/bep) or email bep@swarthmore.edu. Please look for additional updates as construction progresses. 

Enabling Work

As with any new building project, there are typically a number of preparatory items that must be addressed to enable construction, including:

  • Overhead drawing of construction projectUtility Relocations: Utilities running into and around Papazian Hall and Hicks Hall must be re-routed so that the BEP construction does not disrupt electrical power, internet, fire alarms, and telephones. (This is done by trenching down to install underground collections of concrete-encased conduits called “duct banks.”) BEP’s duct banks are being run from the north end of Beardsley to Hicks, along the north edge of the Nason Garden, and into both Pearson and the Meetinghouse in order to minimize the impact on existing trees and plantings as much as possible. Throughout this effort, a team of expert arborists will be on site to advise the project team and supervise work to ensure the health and viability of the trees in the area. This work has been in progress for the past several weeks and is scheduled to be complete by Friday, July 21.
  • Site Security: Before construction can begin in earnest, the entire site must be secured with perimeter fencing in order to protect faculty, staff, students, and visitors. The fencing will also ensure that construction vehicles, personnel, and materials are contained and will not cause disruption to the campus at large. This effort also includes managing the mix of construction and non-construction traffic to, from, and within the north campus, which will be monitored closely to ensure the safety of the entire campus community. This includes the presence of a construction-traffic monitor located at the Elm Avenue entrance, who is helping to direct construction vehicles to their correct locations. There may be temporary intermittent delays for vehicles on Whittier Place. Please exercise caution when walking on paths adjacent to the construction site.
  • Overhead drawing of BEP building and Friends Meeting HouseMeetinghouse Access & Adjustment to Whittier Place: The “node” where Whittier Place turns north alongside the Science Center will be enlarged to create a turnaround loop and Whittier Place will be widened to create a dedicated turning lane for traffic to the Meetinghouse. This will allow traffic to Swarthmore Friends Nursery School to be separated from College traffic, alleviating longstanding congestion. In addition, a sidewalk will be installed on the south side of Whittier Place to provide safe pedestrian access to campus during construction. Early in the fall semester, the portion of Whittier Place alongside the building site will be shifted northward slightly to provide additional space for construction.

Start of BEP Construction

overhead drawing of construction showing BEP phase 1 and BEP phase 2Once the previously mentioned items are complete, the major construction activities for the new building will begin with the start of exterior demolition of Papazian Hall on July 22. (Portions of the existing façade will be salvaged for reuse.) Once Papazian Hall is fully removed in August, excavation will commence for the foundations of the new building. Hicks Hall will remain in operation until summer 2019.

Pearson Hall, Garden Level

The space is being renovated for academic use, including a new seminar room and a classroom. These renovations have been underway for nearly four weeks and will be completed by the start of the fall semester.