On Nov. 1 Drexel University began to take down the gates around the perimeter of the Korman Center and the quad. This “soft opening” allowed students to see some of the changes that have been made to the area and provided them with more routes to access their classes.
For about a year this area was inaccessible to students and faculty due to construction work.
The Korman Center, which houses Drexel’s mathematics department, has added an addition known as the front porch — a furnished, open area studying space for students.
The walkways are now open to students and faculty, but the Korman building itself will remain off limits while renovations are completed throughout the month of November. This means that the Math Resource Center will remain in the Race Library Learning Terrace for the time being.
“The intention is to have the addition open for studying for finals,” university Architect Nancy Trainer said.
Woodland Walk, which cuts diagonally through the Quad, has been altered to provide more lawn area and sitting space. A number of benches have been added on the sides of Disque Hall and Gerri C. Lebow Hall.
“The connection to Woodland Walk is still there and the trees carry the line but it pulls you more to the center, which is the entrance to Korman [and] the entrance to Gerri Lebow,” principal landscape architect of Andropogon, Thomas Amoroso, said.
Prior to the construction there was a mounted, grassy hill for people to sit on between the Korman Center and Disque Hall. It has since been removed in an effort to create a larger green space that is in better light of the sun, according to Amoroso.
Andropogon, the landscape architecture and ecological design firm assigned to the Korman project, has more than quadrupled the amount of shade trees on the quad from around 15 to 73 trees.
“The irrigation is a big part of the sustainability initiative,” Drexel Assistant Director of Grounds Scott Dunham said. “It’s all part of a smart watering system, basically running off of moisture sensors. It will only run when the sensors are telling it it needs to.”
In an effort to make the area not only an eco-friendly space, but a people-friendly space, Andropogon has also removed all stairs from buildings on the quad to make them more “universally accessible,” according to Thomas Amoroso.
Although the Korman family made the donation to refurbish the space, the Kormans did not dictate the process or design the project themselves. One of the only specifications that the family had, according to Trainer, was that the space be a place for all members of the Drexel community to share together.
“It was really what the university community and what the students wanted that drove the project,” said Trainer.
Finishing touches to the project, such as a green wall being built on top of the Korman building, will continue through the 2017-2018 school year. The building is scheduled to be fully operating once again by the end of the school year.