Depending on how much you frequent your Temple email account, you might have noticed a TU Advisory come through Feb. 12, about a series of fires – five now, confirmed by officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – that were set at the Morgan Hall construction site last week.
The email informed the Temple community that the fires were not serious and construction would continue as scheduled. Federal and local authorities have been investigating the incidents and believe them to be acts of arson. Deputy Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said the fires appeared to be started with a lighter.
So far there have been no reported suspects in the case and there are no further details to report on. Given that, there is really only one thing left to say about the “Mystery of the Morgan Hall Fires” and that is that I don’t think it’s such a smart idea. Why?
Here are 10 reasons not to burn down Morgan Hall:
Tuition is high enough
I think that money is somewhat of an obvious reason. ATF Special Agent Steven Bartholomew said property damage to the building is estimated at $100,000. If the property damage totaled that amount from a series of small fires involving construction debris like cardboard and trash, can you imagine how much it would cost involving an entire construction site? Where do you think the school is going to get the money for a brand new residence hall? I’ll give you a hint: Where Temple gets much of its money. Us. In a recent Temple News interview, Senior Vice President for Construction Facilities and Operations James Creedon said, “I would think from a dollar perspective, it is probably the largest project Temple has ever undertaken.” Yikes.
There is no denying that the panorama from Morgan Hall is pretty breathtaking. Why would anybody want to set fire to the only building in North Broad Street to offer those views?
Mitchell and Hilarie Morgan
Just imagine how deeply upset and personally offended Board of Trustees member Mitchell Morgan and his wife Hilarie – for whom the building is named – will feel knowing you burned it to the ground.
With all this talk about the environment heating up, ice caps shrinking and polar bears losing their homes, I think it’s only right to be concerned from an ecological perspective. The year 2012 saw the most severe and extensive drought in at least 25 years, according to a recent report by the United Sates Department of Agriculture. And many scientists report that extreme weather and droughts like this are only going to become more frequent in coming years. With a possibility of a 2013 summer drought upon us, we must begin saving water now. Not to mention Morgan Hall is supposed to feature a green roof – so you’re being super eco-unfriendly.
What would Ben Franklin do? City of Brotherly Love, people.
Between last year and this year, the issue about what to do with the influx of students living off campus and the residents living in the surrounding neighborhoods has been heated at times. The university has stood by its promise to increase the opportunity for student housing on campus by building this residence hall. Not only would burning down Morgan Hall hurt the university’s effort with local residents, but it would also put nearly 1,300 students out of potential housing next year – likely sending them into the surrounding neighborhood to look for it. Plus the new complex is supposed to be open to the public, so the local residents will be doubly burned. No puns intended, I promise.
The dark possibilities
What if the foundation was the only thing between the street level and a massive underground natural gas reservoir? Or what if that spot was at one time a sacred Indian burial ground and you upset the ancient spirits? Or what if something that is released in the air from the fire kills all the mutant pizza eating squirrel species only native to North Philly? Hey, it could be good or bad. What-ifs are fair play. I could go on.
Sad business owners
Stop and think about how disappointed you will make the business owners who plan to open stores in the retail section of the Morgan Hall complex. Consider the tears they will shed. Shame on you for contemplating such a thing.
These five, rather minor fires, caused a complete gridlock on Broad Street earlier this week. I can’t imagine what traffic would look like if the entire building were burning down.
Bronchitis is a b- – – –
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of watching the YouTube video featuring Sweet Brown talking about “farrrrr,” you must. And if you have, or caught her on Tosh.0, then you know the dangers that can arise from a mere house fire. And on Tuesday, one construction workers suffered smoke inhalation from this minor series of fires. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Bri Bosak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @bribosak.