Temple has begun work on a lounge for commuter students at the corner of Warnock and Berks streets, near the SEPTA Regional Rail station.
Plans include gaming and television areas, general seating and lockers for storage. Monitors that display Regional Rail train schedules are also slated to be installed. The lounge is expected to open to students next semester.
A coffee shop named Sage Café is expected to open nextdoor in the retail space built into the parking garage, and a patio will be built out front.
Director of Architectural Services James Templeton said the cost of renovating the retail space into a lounge will be roughly $350,000. The Sage Café location will be independently run, for which the university will receive rent income.
“The location was key,” Templeton said. “It’s just a block away from the train station and is close … so it was really ideal.”
University officials hope the lounge will give a space for commuters to relax, plan and finish assignments between traveling.
“It will be very similar to the Student Center,” Templeton said. “It will just be another place that can accommodate students throughout the day.”
He said the space could hold between 40 and 60 commuter students at a time.
Templeton said the idea was brought to Vice President of Student Affairs Theresa Powell during the master planning process. Students in President Theobald’s class “Organizational Change at Temple University” also helped design the space.
“There will be several security cameras installed and the lounge will be card-swipe access only,” Templeton said. The coffee shop will be open to the public.
Commuters seemed receptive to the prospect of a lounge so close to the train station.
“I think it’s awesome to have a place to just hang out and get stuff done because it gets kind of sickening always being at the TECH [Center] or the library,” said freshman strategic communications major Jennifer Faynberg, who commutes from Woodbourne. “To have a place that’s just for us commuters would be really cool.”
Other commuters hope the lounge will provide refuge from the elements.
“It would be pretty awesome,” said junior risk management major Hayley Leather, who commutes from Elkins Park. “Especially when it gets cold and you have to wait at the train station, it can get freezing up here.”
Junior accounting major James Overton, who commutes from Manayunk, said he doubts he will use the lounge regularly.
“If it becomes a more regular spot and I see more people there that might influence my decision a little bit more, but right now my spot is the TECH Center,” Overton said.
However, Overton did acknowledge that he felt less involved in Main Campus activities because of the distance. He said Saturday was his first time at a Temple football game.
“You sort of miss a lot of what’s going on,” Overton said. “I know I miss a lot of school events over the weekend. It might make it easier.”
Rob Dirienzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org