News

Library still on schedule but making cuts to stay on budget

Framework for the new library will be constructed in late March to early April.

The deep foundation work for Temple’s new library has been laid on time, allowing the project to move to the next steps in construction, said Jerry Leva, the vice president of capital projects for Temple.

He said the library is set to be completed on Oct. 29, 2018.

“We’ve done site excavation to where the basement level will be and we’ve put in the footings that will hold the structure up,” Leva said. “Now we’re in the next phase, which is the foundation package.”

This phase, which will be completed in March, includes finishing the foundation and basement walls. Above ground steel framework will follow, beginning in late March or early April.

Leva said he does not see “anything barring” the library’s completion in 2018.

Joe Lucia, the dean of libraries, said he hopes the project will stay within the $170 million budgeted for the project by the Board of Trustees, but only with the addition of some cost management strategies.

Leva said millions of dollars are being saved with small structural changes to the building’s plans.

“We are significantly cutting numbers back down to meet $170 million,” he said.

As of now, the overall design and concept of the building will not have to be altered or compromised to cut costs, Lucia added.

He hopes Temple’s new library will garner attention from both the academic and architectural communities.

“A lot of people are wondering, ‘What is the 21st-century library?’” Lucia said.

The new library will serve as an example of how a library can adapt to stay relevant in modern times, he added. Lucia said it will be a more active space than Paley, focusing on “social learning, creative engagement and collaboration.”

“This is huge,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of new academic buildings on this scale under construction in the United States right now.”

“We’re thinking about technology differently in this building,” Lucia said. “With public interactive technology and touch screens featuring student-created content, there are going to be new methods to enhance the way we use technology, especially in research.”

The library represents a substantial investment by the university toward academic quality, Lucia said, and will function heavily as a recruiting tool.

“Prospective students are going to come to Temple and they’re going to experience this building and say that this is a place that takes education seriously,” Lucia said.

Part of the new library’s designs include an open green space where Beury Beach and Beury Hall, which currently houses many classrooms for the College of Science and Technology, are located.

Beury Hall has been proposed for possible demolition, but Leva said there is an ongoing analysis of that plan’s feasibility, and that nothing can be torn down until there is a better understanding of how the lost classrooms can be replaced.

“Hopefully we can at least get the quad started by the time the library is finished,” Leva said.

Noah Tanen can be reached at noah.tanen@temple.edu.

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