Developer has big plans for closed middle school

A local school will see students and use again, thanks to a developer-community partnership.

A local school will see students and use again, thanks to a developer-community partnership.

John Wanamaker Middle School sits quietly on the corner of 12th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.

The empty halls of John Wanamaker Middle School at 12th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue will soon be filled again with students. But this time, it will be the living space that draws them, not the schooling.

With Temple’s enrollment hitting an all-time high at more than 37,000 students, the need for student housing is skyrocketing, and considering the fact that Temple can only guarantee housing for first-year students, housing developments near campus have become increasingly necessary.

The Goldenberg Group, a Blue Bell developer, and the nonprofit division of Bright Hope Baptist Church will fund the $250 million dollar renovation project. It will provide 600 new beds on seven floors for students on the building’s north side. Plans in the works for the south side of the building include a charter school, a “green technology” training center and community-use space.

The cost to students for a room is expected to be between $650 and $750 dollars, according to a according to a July 8 Philadelphia Inquirer story on If all goes according to plan and renovations begin next spring, students could be moving in as early as Fall 2011.

Other housing projects include Temple’s own plan to improve its Broad Street corridor in accordance with its 2020 framework plan. There will be at least one student housing building included in that plan, according to university administration.

Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration Anthony Wagner said the Broad Street corridor is the university’s most valuable piece of property, and the plans to further develop it will hopefully make that section look “less edgy.”

Tower Investment Inc., is also planning a nearby housing project at 15th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, which will provide 1,100 extra beds next door to the converted Wanamaker School.

Kali Wyrosdic can be reached at


  1. I graduated from Wanamaker with top honors in 1964 and am searching to find someone, anyone, who can help me find a copy of our yearbook. I won top Physical Education, Cheerleader, Student Council Secretary awards and have been searching to find where I can get help with this. Also I heard that there is a yearly reunion for alumni. I would pay anything to get this info. Thank you in advance.

    Barbara Jones Bey

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