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University releases update to master plan

The extensive plan, Visualize Temple, calls for increased green space and the relocation of science classes and research to newer buildings.

Temple on Friday released an updated version of Visualize Temple, the university’s master plan for future construction. The plan details a new library, an academic quad, additional science buildings and other projects to be phased in during the next five years. Other projects in the plan could be completed in the next ten years or more.

As The Temple News previously reported, the new $190 million library will be built on the site of Barton Hall after its demolition and would provide 200,000-300,000 square feet of space. A university spokesman said more details about the new library were forthcoming but noted that the building could house a robotic text-retrieval system.

In an interview with The Temple News, Senior Vice President for Construction, Facilities and Operations Jim Creedon said the central quad will be finished following the demolition of Beury Hall and the Biology-Life Sciences building. The quad will span a whole block enclosed by 12th and 13th streets on the east and west, he said. Norris Street and Polett Walk would compose the north and south borders.

Creedon said building the quad is a response to a need for green space.

“To think all we’ve got is Beury Beach, and some spots around the Bell Tower… you need more than that,” Creedon said. “You need people to be able to do anything from sit, to throw a concert, to have class.”

To address the rearranging of science courses and recoup the classroom space lost by demolishing Beury and the Bio-Life building, an interdisciplinary science building will be built on the parking lot at 12th and Norris streets, Creedon said.

“That allows us to get chemistry and biology out of Beury and Bio-Life into a SERC-like environment,” Creedon said, referring to the Science and Education Research Center on Main Campus, which opened this month. “We’re really raising the level of the facilities we have for both instruction and for research.”

Since the building will be on the edge of Main Campus, its height will be limited, Creedon said.

“The proposal is to stay within our footprint,” Creedon said. “We’ll utilize the parking lots that we have, the space that we have, or renovate existing buildings … We’re going to build on what we own, and use our assets.”

The first through fourth floors in Wachman Hall will be renovated to make additional classroom space, Creedon said.

Other projects for Main Campus in the next 5 years include a new building to the east of Weiss Hall which would house the College of Public Health and renovations to convert the field at Edberg-Olson Hall, where the football team practices, into an indoor facility.

The plan also calls for moving the Fort Washington Campus’ functions to the Ambler Campus and renovating the Health Sciences Campus’ Student Faculty Center.

The next step for implementing the plan is another round of input from focus groups and community members, Creedon said. Around 3,300 people offered suggestions to the Visualize Temple site.

Plans further away than the 5-year period include additional residence hall space made by demolishing Peabody Hall. Other student housing space can be made next to White Hall or by addition to Temple Towers.

Both Creedon and the 190-page Visualize Temple document provided by architecture and planning firm SmithGroupJJR alluded to a companion landscape master plan, called Verdant Temple, which seeks to address green space on Main Campus in addition to the appearance of campus borders and architectural continuity throughout.

That plan will be released in November, a spokesman said.

Steve Bohnel and Joe Brandt can be reached at news@temple-news.com.

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