Neighbors of the proposed Children’s Hospital facility at Broad and Morris met last night in a room that won’t be around for much longer. The city Health Center 2 along with the adjacent Free Library branch and rec center are slated to be demolished in April 2014.
The destruction will make way for a shiny “gift from CHOP,” and the meeting was a CHOP-led unveiling of the model and sketches of the forthcoming health center/library/rec center/CHOP facility, said Douglas Carney, senior VP of CHOP facilities and meeting ring-leader.
The building will stand three stories tall, with floor-to-ceiling windows and pastel-stripe accents facing Broad. A playground sandwiched between Morris, Castle, and 15th will feature a basketball court, a lawn with tables and chairs, and possibly a spray fountain.
As Carney unveiled the green sketch of the playground, which elicited an “ohhh nice,” from at least one of the attendees.
Though playground equipment is not yet in the sketch, “there is a pretty decent budget for [it],” Carney said. Specific equipment to be determined. Also TBD: some kind of safe bike storage, and whether there will be a section with a green roof.
At night, there will be anti-glare security lights designed to minimize light pollution, and the eight-foot gates will be locked, assured Carney.
The “gift from CHOP to the city” has a budget of “over $30 million,” coming from CHOP and a yet-to-be-reveled donor, he said. “In case you are a contractor, I’m not going to tell you [how much it is],” he joked (kind of).
He would similarly not commit to exact dates, but if demolition does start in April, “structure up, skin on” will be standing about nine months later, with the whole thing done in November 2015. Carney promised to look into the idea of having the playground and green space open a little sooner.
Not everyone at the meeting was awed by the design. “The Castle side looks ugly,” said one community member, referring to the brick-and-windows planned for the Castle-facing wall of the building.
“What makes it ugly?,” asks Carney, picking up the doll-house sized model and pointing to the face in question.
“It’s just – thbpbpthpt!” (That’s a raspberry – and how Calvin and Hobbes spelled it.)
As far as the library and health center go, Carney said some of the services would be moved to a temporary location, but he didn’t provide details.
– Shannon Palus, @shanpalus