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Paul Robeson High School for Human Services unveils New Cafeteria

The project was a six-month collaboration between the University City

school and developers, designers and contractors of 3.0 University

Place, currently under construction at 41st and Market Streets.

PHILADELPHIA, November 1, 2022 – Richard Gordon IV is no stranger to challenges. As principal of the Paul Robeson School for Human Services in University City he took over a school that was slated for closure in 2013 and transformed it into the city’s most improved high school, with a 98% graduation rate and more than 50% of students going on to college.

“The biggest challenge has been empowering the students to believe in themselves and as part of that process rally the community to be part of our dynamic learning environment,” commented Principal Gordon. “Our motto at Robeson supports students to build their own brand, but it also goes for the entire school and the communities that we serve”.

Even before the nearly completed 3.0 University Place around the corner from the school at 41st and Market Streets was under construction, Gordon had the opportunity to meet with the project’s developer and CEO of University Place Associates, Scott Mazo. “Principal Gordon and I made an immediate connection. We had the opportunity to visit the school, understand his vision and see the amazing learning environment that he and his team has created at Robeson,” said Mazo. “As a long-term developer in West Philadelphia and University City with close connections to the community, I wanted to align our project with the amazing work being done at the Paul Robeson High School.”

After multiple conversations and visits, a unique public/private collaborative partnership was formed between the Paul Robeson High School, Principal Gordon, the Robeson student body and the University Place Associates development team, including the design and construction contractors. The team worked together to identify how it could make a change to the school building that would result in increased collaboration, teamwork and a more creative atmosphere.

“Our amazing partners, which includes the McDonald Dale Strategic Alliance (a partnership of building and construction management companies and contractors) and The Sheward Partnership, our building designer, all played a major role in working on this project” said Mazo. “Ultimately, it was the student body that identified the cafeteria as the area where improvements would create a much needed collaboration space.”

“It has been amazing to see the crews from 3.0 University Place on our campus, bringing their passion and enthusiasm to this project. We have created and environment of combradiery, trust and admiration between the students and administrators at Robeson and we see those see attributes from the teams at 3.0 University Place who made the improvements to our school,” said Gordon.

“We are working on the one of the most exciting projects that’s underway in the entire region,” said Eric Linter, CEO of Dale Corporation. “3.0 University Place will be a top-tier Life Sciences Center and it’s being built to the highest levels of environmental quality and sustainability. Our teams are passionate about this project and brought that same enthusiasm to transforming the Paul Robeson School cafeteria”.

“We have learned so much from the community during the past 3-4 years, in particular during community sessions that sought input from the residents of the area near 41st and Market Streets,” said Anthony Maher, President of University Place Associates. “Early on, we engaged Phil Freelon, a Philadelphia native and world-renowned architect to lead discussion sessions between our team and members of the community. Those insights provided invaluable input on how we could connect our project to the community in meaningful ways, including our work with the Paul Robeson School.”


About University Place Associates

University Place Associates [UPA] is Philadelphia's leading sustainable and socially conscious commercial real estate development firm. Based and focused in the University City area of Philadelphia, UPA is dedicated to creating the finest quality, state-of-the-art, healthiest commercial developments in a socially conscious and environmentally responsible way. UPA also seeks to engage and intersect with the surrounding residential communities, startup businesses, schools, and universities, to create local jobs, and attract organizations hungry for innovation and talent. For more information, please visit and follow @universityplphl on Twitter and UniversityPlaceAssociates on Facebook.

About 3.0 University Place:

3.0 University Place is a 250,000+ sq Ft Life Sciences enabled commercial lab/office trophy building, pre-certified LEED Platinum®, v4 and has been awarded pre-certification WELL v2 Platinum. It is a flagship for social and environmental responsibility, purpose-built for those that demand both from their workplace. Currently, 3.0 is on track for completion during the first quarter of 2023. This location will serve as an expansion of an innovation corridor that is designated as a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) and a Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ). Future tenants in the corridor will benefit from these tax incentives, as well as its close proximity to the 40th & Market transit hub, the University of Pennsylvania, and Drexel University.

Paul Robeson School for Human Services

Paul Robeson High School is one of the premier high schools in the City of Philadelphia. As a nurturing learning community, Paul Robeson High School not only fosters a sense of empowerment driving students to seek healthy, positive, nurturing relationships, but also we are a community designed to assist students in the development of the 21st Century skills needed to succeed in post-secondary studies and careers in service to the local & global communities. Capitalizing on our location in the heart of University City, Paul Robeson High School will continue it’s strong partnerships with nearby universities, research institutions, human service agencies, business community, and other industry partners in order to provide our students with pivotal experiences and highly sought after internships in their personal fields of interest.

Media contact:

Rick Gillespie,, 215-870-7000

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