The dilapidated row houses on the 1800 block of Liacouras Walk have been undergoing a substantial facelift over the last few months.
In that time, construction workers have bustled about the heart of the campus, shoulder to shoulder with students. The face of the university is changing, with construction on Liacouras Walk and the Student Center, renovations in the Baptist Temple and plans for a new wing on Speakman Hall and a new Tyler School of Art on Main Campus.
The prominent location of 1800 Liacouras Walk has caught the eye of many, but the exact purpose of this new building has been unclear as of late.
Speculations have abounded, including everything from an extension of the 1900 Liacouras Walk shops to additional student housing. Although both of are badly needed to accommodate Temple’s expanding student population, project Superintendent Robert Haasz put both rumors to rest.
“Plans include a president’s suite, more entertainment space, additional classrooms to replace those that will be lost from Curtis, with some undesignated space on the fifth floor,” said Haasz.
Jerry Kaytrosh, another project manager, added that there were plans to expand some of the University’s health facilities into a portion of the new building.
Both are supervising employees of InTech Construction, a private firm contracted by the university to carry out the renovation.
Temple’s facilities Web site also lists plans for the relocation of the Academic Resource Center, the Math/Science Learning Center and the College of Liberal Arts advising center to the new site, with space leftover for “university functions.” The new building will be five stories tall, adding 75,400 square feet of space for use, at a cost of $18.6 million and is slated for completion in November 2005.
One noticeable aspect of the project has been the focus, less on preserving the old structure and more on maximizing space. The façade was labeled historical, being a prime example of the style of architecture that dominated North Philadelphia a century ago. Facilities’ management judged the remainder of the building to be to “inefficient” for the University’s needs. As such, the decision was made to demolish all but the western and southern walls. The end result will loom a full story higher than the original building.
When finished, the block will be similar in appearance to 1900 Liacouras Walk, although that development was handled by a different construction company.
More information on the ongoing construction is available on both facilities’ management’s Web site, www.temple.edu/facilities and the InTech official Web site, www.intechconstruction.com.
Ryan Briggs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.