I am pleased to report that we are about to fulfill a long-overdue need at Arcadia as we begin construction on the University Commons right after Commencement. Even before I accepted the presidency at Arcadia, I envisioned the day when this University would have a vibrant hub for student life.
Now that the day is upon us, we have much construction to deal with through Fall 2011. Fencing will begin on Monday, May 24, and immediately we will begin to deal with the pedestrian challenge that comes with an important element of the Commons—our geothermal energy-saving project.
Ninety-six geothermal wells under Kuch Field—each about 400 feet deep—will provide the heating and cooling for the new building and will power the new cooling system for the gymnasium. The wells operate on a simple heat pump exchange. Much like the system of coils in a refrigerator, the system of wells forms a circulating water system that exchanges heat with the ground. During the summer, the temperature beneath the ground is less than the air temperature, and heat is exchanged into the ground. During the winter, the temperature of the earth is greater than the air temperature, and heat is exchanged from the ground.
While this project will be very environmentally friendly, it will will require the temporary use of almost all the green space in the center of campus during the construction phase. Together with the construction of the Commons along the front of Kuch and the side facing Boyer, the result is that the normal paths we are accustomed to will no longer be available.
The Facilities and University Relations staffs will be working to keep us all informed about the project each step of the way, and they begin with a map of the fenced-off zone—and some creative thinking about how we can traverse the campus without using the center quad. Philadelphia might have its blue route, but Arcadia now has the Orange Route and the Green Route. (See map with Orange Route and Green Route.) These routes will be marked with floor and sidewalk decals.
The Green Route will traverse the southern end of campus along a new sidewalk that hugs the abutments along the rear of the Castle and leads into the bridge connecting the Health Sciences Building to Brubaker Hall. No access will be available between Kuch and Brubaker. The accessible entrance ramp to Brubaker will be modified to allow entry from the sidewalk adjacent to the campus roadway.
The Orange Route will traverse the northern end of campus and will take pedestrians through Boyer Hall and out the lower level by the loading dock. With the pathway between Kuch and Boyer closed, a new accessible entrance to Boyer is being created on the side of the building facing Landman Library.
During this time—the end product of which will be good for the environment and good for Arcadia—I ask for your patience and your creativity in dealing with these temporary challenges.