The demolition of the old tennis courts that lie between the iconic Palestra and the new Weiss Pavilion, off 33rd Street, is scheduled to begin next summer, making way for a new green space the entire Penn community can enjoy.
Known as Shoemaker Green, the 3.75-acre site will be a park gateway between Locust Walk in the main part of campus and the new Penn Park at the eastern edge of campus, expected to be completed next fall.
The open commons area will be large enough for entertainment events with lawn seating and tented special events, such as the Penn Relays, Penn Family Day and Commencement. Shoemaker Green will also be a perfect spot for casual lunches or lunchtime strolls.
The $8 million project is expected to be a model for sustainable landscape design, converting urban concrete overlays into lawns, tree-lined walkways and plant beds.
Designed by Philadelphia landscape architects Andropogon Associates, Shoemaker Green will incorporate three rain gardens, porous pavers and a cistern for rainwater reuse to mitigate storm water drainage issues. New technologies will be in place to capture storm water from the site itself. By replacing paved surfaces with landscaping, Shoemaker Green will also help to reduce the urban heat island effect.
“These sustainable aspects support two very important components of Penn’s Climate Action Plan: increasing campus green space and using sustainable building practices,” says Anne Papageorge, vice president for Facilities and Real Estate Services.
Before it’s even off the drawing board, Shoemaker Green has already made its mark. The project was chosen as one of 150-plus pilot projects around the globe to test a new Sustainable Sites Initiative ratings system for landscapes, anticipated to be analogous to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building ratings.
Shoemaker Green is expected to be completed in the fall of 2012.
Avid tennis players need not worry about finding other courts to play. A new tennis complex is being built in Penn Park, just a few hundred yards to the east.
For more information about Penn’s campus development, visit www.pennconnects.upenn.edu.