At the University of Pennsylvania, the Palestra is an indoor sports venue that has been home to Philadelphia’s Big 5 since its inception in 1955 and has hosted more games than any other college arena in history.

P. Agnes was recently selected for the window replacement and ventilation project for the Palestra. The project includes the replacement of the existing arched windows and clerestory glazing at the roof along with mechanical enhancements to the general ventilation and exhaust systems. New dryer venting and bathroom exhaust improvements are also included in the work.

One challenge that has already been addressed includes the selection of the glazing systems. Glare control is critical for the facility and required a detailed process for choosing the glazing systems. Several mock-ups were employed to determine the actual natural lighting conditions present at various times of the day and different seasons. Glazing selections were based on the ability to diffuse the light and minimize glare during athletic events.

The project has several other challenges including erection of extensive scaffolding and staging required to access the clerestory windows, protection of the existing facility during work, modifications to the dated structural systems to support the new work, and procurement of long lead glazing products.

P. Agnes will serve as the construction manager. The project team includes John Milner Architects, Keast & Hood Structural Engineers, and AHA. The construction schedule has an enabling phase starting on March 23, 2021 with the major scope starting after commencement ceremonies in May 2021. Completion is scheduled for October 2021. The construction budget is $8,200,000.