The Daily Pennsylvanian | Inside Penn’s $200 million project to renovate Hill and build New College House


Photo: Camille Rapay

Hill College House was constructed 57 years ago as a women’s-only dorm on Hill Field at the southeast corner of campus.

The now co-ed dorm re-opened after spending a year undergoing multi-million dollar renovations to share its field with the one year-old New College House.

In May 2016, Penn began 15 months of renovations to modernize the 550-bed Hill, which The New York Times named in 2015 as one of the top five worst college dorms.

Executive Director of Business Services Doug Berger said it is important to take the NYT’s poor ranking of Hill with a grain of salt.

“Those were more maintenance and pest control issues that were being complained about,” Berger said. “The building was old and did need work.”

Hill’s renovation was the first time the University had closed a dorm for construction during the school year. In the past, renovations of residential buildings would only occur during the summer because there would not have been enough space to house students during the year.

The last major residential renovation was for the three high rise buildings — Harnwell College House, Rodin College House and Harrison College House — and began in the summer of 2002 and cost $80 million. The Quad also underwent renovations during the summer of 2000 and lasted nearly four summers. 

During the time Hill was undergoing renovations, Penn strategically built NCH to compensate for the decrease of available freshman housing in the two years before Hill was set to close down. The 350-bed, four-year dormitory was home to only freshmen last year, which Director of Design and Construction Mariette Buchman…

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