Temple has confirmed reports that the Student Pavilion will be renovated into an on-campus indoor football facility.
James Creedon, the senior vice president for construction, facilities and operations, said a turf field will be added to the Pavilion by the beginning of August.
“It’s not even going to be a full field,” Creedon said. “It’ll be marked off for drilling. There will be a red zone area. Areas to practice both offense and defense. There’s some videotaping abilities and that’s really about it.”
The plan originated in a conversation between Creedon, football coach Matt Rhule and interim athletic director Kevin Clark. Creedon said they faced financial and logistical problems with constructing a new building.
“We thought, ‘Are there any other options that might be out there?’” Creedon said. “We started talking about the Student Pavilion, and thought that there might be some lower cost, cost-effective options that would achieve the same result with the Pavilion.”
The Pavilion was originally earmarked for demolition to make room for a new library, but president Neil Theobald favors a new library on the east side of Broad Street, where all the other academic buildings lie. Plans for a new library have not been delayed, however.
“The design has started,” Creedon said. “The programming process has started for the library: meaning what goes into the library, how big it should be. Right now we’re looking at where it should be. That process started about three or four weeks ago.”
The change in plans also brings good news for the on-campus tennis courts. Previously set for demolition in favor of “green space”, the courts are now going to stay in place.
“We’re thrilled that the courts will remain,” tennis coach Steve Mauro said. “We think that it will definitely benefit Temple, the community and the tennis team by having the courts remain.”
Mauro said he found out of the new plan “a week or two ago.” He met with Clark today to discuss the upkeep of the courts. There are six tennis courts outside the Pavilion, but two are unplayable due to damage.
“Hopefully [Clark] is able to fix up the courts, so I could have six courts to play,” Mauro said.
Creedon said Rhule has not yet informed the players of the new facility.
“I think he was planning on the first rainy day saying ‘Hey guys, let’s hop on a bus.’ and surprising them with it,” Creedon said. “But the cat’s out of the bag.”
Evan Cross can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @EvanCross.