Skip to main content

Campus Renewal and Construction Update

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff Members,

Last fall, I shared the exciting news that the College’s plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 had been reimagined as To Zero By Thirty-Five (or 20X35), our bold and visionary path to power campus through efficient, combustion- and carbon-free energy. Since then, the transformation of our campus has been, quite literally, groundbreaking: Drilling began on hundreds of geothermal wells on Mertz Lawn, a critical component of the College’s future heating and cooling geoexchange system; the new all-electric Dining Center opened to great fanfare in October; and we broke ground on Sharples Commons, which will become a new vital hub for student life at Swarthmore by early 2024.

In addition to these essential, intersecting projects, work has also begun on revitalizing Martin Hall into an interdisciplinary space housing the departments of Computer Science and Film & Media Studies and the Media Center. Over the next two years, Martin will be transformed into a technological center and social space for our entire campus community, with resources including a black box theater, screening room, editing suites, and an outdoor Arts Plaza connecting Lang Performing Arts Center (LPAC) and Lang Music Building.

These projects are part of an overall campus renewal program designed to help modernize our facilities, fulfill our commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, and ensure our buildings and infrastructure effectively support our exceptional liberal arts educational experience. While that work is exciting and necessary, it brings with it additional construction across campus that will occur throughout the summer and into the fall semester. Several of the ways we enter and move through campus and access key buildings will temporarily change as this work is taking place. Please read on for an overview of how open spaces, accessible pathways, vehicular traffic, and parking will shift between now and the end of the year. Information is available on our campus construction highlights web page. I encourage you to check the online campus map in the coming weeks for a clear visualization of current construction areas and accessible campus paths.

Construction In and Around Parrish
Parrish is the heart of campus for students, faculty, staff, and visitors, but it also contains some of the College’s oldest utility infrastructure. This summer, extensive work will be done to upgrade Parrish (including installing air conditioning in student residential areas) and to connect it to the geoexchange system. The majority of work inside Parrish will be completed by August, and part of the pedestrian path near Clothier Circle will be closed for short durations this summer to support this work.

To connect Parrish to the geoexchange system, construction north, south, and east of the building will begin after Alumni Weekend and continue through December. While the Rose Garden will remain open during this time, the Rose Garden Circle and Parrish’s accessible entrance on that side of the building will be closed. The accessible entrance on the north side of Parrish will remain open. 

With the temporary closure of the Rose Garden Circle, certain programs and services will be moved to Clothier Circle, including drop-off for first-year students arriving on Aug. 29, Garnet Shuttle pick-up and drop-off, and move-in meet-ups. 

Construction Access Road Across Trotter Lawn
To facilitate transportation of materials for the work in and around Parrish, a temporary construction road will be installed across Trotter Lawn, extending from College Avenue and around the Rose Garden to the North Quad. This road will be in place from June through the fall semester.

Construction Access Road Across the North Quad to Access Martin Hall 
In order to support the work on Martin Hall, another temporary construction road will be installed across the north quad by Singer Hall. Infrequent truck traffic will be coordinated with class schedules to avoid interrupting pedestrian traffic as much as possible, and flaggers will accompany trucks whenever they cross the quad. This road will be in place from June of this year through summer 2025.

Access to Lang Music Building
The work on Martin will also increase traffic at Lang Music Circle this summer, which will remain closed to pedestrians. To access Lang Music Building, you will need to continue to go through LPAC through August.

Worth, Bond, and Lodges Courtyard
New windows will be installed at Worth, Bond, and the Lodges, along with updates to the buildings’ roofs and exterior stone walls. Work on this initial phase of Worth Hall renovations will conclude by move-in on Aug. 29. While the Lodges and Bond Hall will be open for the start of the academic year, work will continue there into the fall. Worth Courtyard will remain closed through October. 

Reduced Parking on Campus 
This ongoing work will temporarily shift available parking in most campus lots. Parking at Clothier Circle, Lang Music Building, and Roberts Hall will be closed from May 30 through Aug. 25. Several other campus lots will be open but at a reduced capacity in the coming months, including:

  • Benjamin West parking lot, which will be reduced to 50% capacity through October. Additional parking will be made available at the Cunningham Fields North lot to accommodate visitors.
  • Du Pont parking lot will be reduced to 25% capacity during the summer and then restored to 50% capacity by the end of August.
  • West Field House Lane parking lot will be reduced to 75% capacity during the summer and restored to 80% by the end of August.
  • Wharton Hall parking will be reduced to 60% capacity during the summer.

This is a period of exciting transformation for our community. Together, these new and reimagined spaces and systems will allow us to continue to live into our values, and to learn, live, and work together in better ways than ever before. At the same time, this work will bring about temporary but significant disruption to campus. I appreciate your grace and patience as we adjust to these changes and work to build a better Swarthmore. 


Val Smith