Mock apartment added to new STAR Complex

Physical and occupational therapy students will use the apartment to practice with equipment for the physically disabled.

The new Aramark STAR Complex at the corner of 15th Street and Montgomery Avenue includes a teaching apartment where students will learn how to assist the elderly and people living with physical disabilities. | OLIVIA O'NEILL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple’s new Aramark Student Training and Recreation Complex includes educational apartment accommodations for physical and occupational therapy students to learn about the equipment used in the day-to-day lives of people with physical disabilities.

The STAR Complex, where construction began in May 2016, held a dedication ceremony on Sept. 7 to celebrate its completion. It was opened to students with the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

The new multi-use facility at 15th Street and Montgomery Avenue marks a transition for physical and occupational therapy majors. Some College of Public Health majors, including those enrolled in the physical therapy program, have relocated to Main Campus this fall from the Health Sciences Campus because of the complex’s completion.

The educational apartments include wheelchair-height kitchen counters and appliances and a fully accessible bathroom and bedroom, according to a university release. Students will use this equipment to apply what they learn in their classes to aid people with physical disabilities.

“The transition into the new facilities has been really smooth,” senior kinesiology major Amrit Kaur said. “The STAR Complex is quieter and less crowded, which makes it easier to get work done.”

According to the 2016-17 Fact Book, there are about 4,400 CPH students. Many are already taking their first classes in the STAR Complex this semester.

“We love the new facilities,” said Emily Opperman, a second-year physical therapy Ph.D. student. She added this facility is “more up to date” than the old Health Sciences Campus location.

“It’s amazing,” Opperman said. “It’s a good resource for learning for people going into physical therapy.”

Lauren Highsmith, a student services coordinator with Disability Resources and Services, said the new facilities are beneficial for all students, regardless of their majors and colleges.

“It’s great…for students with disabilities in general to have the option of going over there and knowing that there’s adaptable equipment that’s there for them to use and that there are people over there who will know how to use it,” Highsmith added.

Currently, Temple’s occupational therapy program is ranked No. 32 in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report, and the physical therapy program is ranked No. 53.

“If you line us up with Drexel and Penn State and those kinds of schools, you need to have something that sticks out more than the others,” Highsmith added. “I think that having something like [the educational apartments] that they can use as a marketing tool can help us stand out against some of the other local schools.”

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