Crunched campus needs space

With continued construction at Temple’s main campus, art students will find more space in Elkins Park where they’ve always been.

As enrollment numbers for the 2008-2009 school year reach an all-time high, Temple does not have the resources or housing accommodations to bring the Tyler School of Art to Main Campus.
Years ago, Temple was largely a commuter school. The university was smaller and its students were more localized.

Nowadays, incoming freshmen should feel lucky to have two years to live on campus.

Having another school join the North Philadelphia community is wonderful, especially one as vibrant as Tyler, but bringing an extra 1,500 students to Main Campus must involve a comprehensive long-term housing plan.

The lack of housing options near Main Campus is already affecting surrounding communities, and a move such as this isn’t making the situation any better. Upperclassmen are being forced to rely on nearby neighborhoods for shelter. Residents from Yorktown, one of Main Campus’ neighboring communities, are feeling threatened by the influx of rowdy college students.

The Temple News and other Philadelphia news media have covered the tension between Yorktown residents and Temple students. Long-time residents are making their frustration known regarding the increase of Temple students in Yorktown and the possibility of them ruining the neighborhood’s good name. For nearly 50 years, Yorktown locals have defied negative stereotypes used to describe North Philadelphia.

With the new school set to arrive on Main Campus in Spring 2009, and all Tyler students already living in or around Main Campus, Temple is straining its existing dormitories to find places to house students. Nearby areas are only going to fill up more.

Many North Philadelphia residents feel as though the university has taken over their homes and changed their way of living. Increasing the number of students forced to live off campus is only going to intensify that feeling.

There are so many housing issues already. Temple needs to address the problem, instead of letting us spill out into surrounding neighborhoods.

The university is overcrowded. Bringing the rest of Tyler students here is only adding pressure, especially with no comprehensive plan in place.

Tara Moore however, thinks the Tyler students should be a welcomed addition.

Lindsey Granger can be reached at


  1. It is impressive that Temple University continues to grow their student population each year, but it is unfair to the local residential communities to be burdened with the ramifications of that business decision. It is also unfair to incoming students coming from so far and finding without foreknowledge, that they are caught up in the contentious situation that is spawned from the University not being responsible for providing adequate housing for all those who desire to be housed.

    Temple University receives taxpayer money by way of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State budget. It seems it would be a good use of taxpayer dollars for Temple to acquire two properties located on Broad Street, each at a subway stop that makes an easy commute to and from the Main Campus and the Health Systems Campus.

    The property located at 699 N. Broad Street is the old Divine Lorraine Hotel, owned by the Lorraine Hotel LP at 1735 Market St. 51st Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19103. It would seem that it would be an easy rehab to fit it for a student population.

    The property located at 2700-34 N. Broad Street is the old Botany 500 building, owned by the 2700 North Broad Corporation at 520 E. Shore Road, Great Neck, NY 11025. This is a much larger project but it would solve for years to come the problem of housing students as the population exponentially grows.

    Either of these acquisitions could not be viewed as incursion into the local communities since Broad Street is a major commercial thoroughfare. The City of Philadelphia is marketing Broad Street as the Avenue of the Arts North; an address that would add a certain élan to the housing brochure sent to potential students.

    This is my suggestion as one who understands the needs of the business from which Temple University is operating; and as a Yorktown Community homeowner who has been victimized by the bad behavior and disrespect that accompanies the onslaught of students in search of off-campus housing each semester.

    Pam Pendleton-Smith

  2. I’d like to correct the author’s mistake in this quote: “…and all Tyler students already living in or around Main Campus.”

    The inconvenient reality is that not ALL Tyler students were able to find or desired center city/north Philadelphia housing. Some of us chose to live in Elkins Park, near the soon-to-be “old” Tyler campus. Students loved Tyler because of its wonderful location- quiet, leafy, green suburbs, so different from main campus’ atmosphere. In my case, I chose to remain in Elkins Park, blocks from school, because it also meant being close to the studios at least ONE of the two semesters this school year. For many of us, the other option was a south Philly location, resulting in two semesters of considerable commute, neither of which would allow for enough time in the studios to work. Senior year artwork is the culmination of four (or five, for many) years of intense and rigorous study and practice, not only created to get a degree, but for many, to obtain admission to a graduate school.

    We all are aware that there is a great feeling of loss and displacement amongst many of the Tyler community regarding the abandonment of Tyler’s original location, so evocative of the beginnings of Tyler School of Art as a unique and autonomous institution, NOT one of Temple’s many branches; however, it disturbs me even more to feel that Temple has been entirely insensitive to the wishes of Tyler students to retain residence in the Elkins Park area for the duration of the move. The pretense that all students from Tyler have “taken the hint” and moved downtown is made PAINFULLY apparent by the discontinuation of the inter-campus shuttle service to Tyler the second semester. Temple should have taken responsiblity for its shoddy job moving downtown *halfway* through the year (halfway through many of our SENIOR years- what happened to respecting those of us who have worked so hard to graduate?) by caring enough for Tyler students to ensure shuttle service for those who chose to stay.

    For me, being very close to one of the campuses for at least part of the year is essential because this is my senior year; as any Tyler student can tell you, time spent in the studio senior year is invaluable. It is clear that Temple should NEVER have moved Tyler halfway through the year -if only out of respect for the graduating class who need to be in the studio constantly- but it adds insult to injury that those who didn’t want to move with it should be so thoughtlessly left to fend for themselves.

    In addition, I think it is important for anyone reading this piece to understand that Tyler’s “space needed” could have easily been remedied by the addition of the property adjacent to Tyler School of Art in Elkins Park. The sprawling nunnery next-door was offered to Temple for a song. Tyler could be the “best art school facility in the country” had the mountains of cash used to build a brand-new Shangri-La/Tyler at main campus been used to renovate the lovely and historical existing campus and expand to the terrific property Temple rejected nearby. Unfortunately, this would have done nothing to beautify the campus in north Philly or draw more students to it, which appears to have outweighed the more sensible choice.

  3. All this attention is put on the Tyler student moving down to Main Campus but none has been on where and who they are moving in with. The College of Music is being expanded and connected with the Art school. Has anyone asked the music majors what they think of the art school now being joined with them? Or how this construction is/will effect their school year, class and rehearsal schedule?

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