A computer store called the “Owl Tech” is under construction in the lobby of Pearson Hall. The construction, which began in July 2018, is expected to finish by November.
The store will provide retail and repair services to all Temple University students and staff. Both of these services come at lower prices through an education discount from suppliers.
The retail options will mainly include Apple, Dell, Lenovo and HP products like mice, drives, tablets, computer towers and laptops.
Community residents will be able to use repair services and purchase accessories but are not eligible for laptops and computers which have the education discount. The store will also sell refurbished computers and accessories.
In January, the budget for the project increased from $846,260 to $1.22 million said Cindy Leavitt, vice president of computer services. To make the store, a climbing wall was demolished and the construction had to address issues with the building’s infrastructure.
The store is a nonprofit, and all proceeds will go to the upkeep of the store, including paying workers and computer refurbishment costs.
A full-time manager and assistant manager will run the store and employ students part time.
Freshman computer science major Zack Waxler said he likely wouldn’t use the store because he can get equipment more efficiently online.
“I haven’t heard of the computer store,” Wexler added. “I probably won’t use it, since I buy things online.”
The closest major computer stores are the Apple Store on Walnut Street near 16th and Staples on Chestnut Street near 15th — both nearly 3 miles away from Main Campus.
Bill McMaster, who works in administration in the Information Technology Services department, said opening the store will make computer products and repairs more accessible for students.
“We want to offer students and staff convenience and service at the best value possible for their electronic equipment and accessory needs,” McMaster said. “By placing a Temple-run store on campus we think we can achieve that goal.”
The store will first offer refurbished products to faculty and students at a discounted rate, and anything that is not sold will be donated to the community, Leavitt said.
The Computer Recycling Center, located in Pearson Hall, will be connected to the new store. The CRC sells refurbished, old computers from the university for a significantly discounted rate. The new store will be different because it provides repair services.
Since inception, the CRC has collected 35,352 used computers and 27,007 used monitors and thousands of other electronics to be resold, Leavitt said.
The CRC donates equipment to community centers, schools, and church organizations. However, The Temple News reported in February that staff members at the school don’t know how to address issues that arise on the devices, sometimes not using the technology at all because they can’t staff the labs.
Only six out of the 12 donated computers worked, said Carol Smith, the executive director of the Beckett Life Center, in February. The community center is on 16th Street near Jefferson.
“The reason that we’re offering the store here is for convenience,” Leavitt said. “If you do need some equipment, please look at the CRC first because it is a great deal and it is great equipment.”
Caroline Vana, a senior film major, said the store will be a good resource on campus for equipment and job experience.
“Yes, I walk by it, but I wouldn’t use it because I’m graduating this year,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for students to get customer service experience.”