The sights and sounds around Main Campus this summer included hard hats and the thunks of construction. Workers hurried over the past week to complete their summer projects in preparation for the fall semester, but some projects are just beginning.
The Temple News sat down with Dozie Ibeh, the associate vice president of Temple’s Project Delivery Group, who is in charge of managing all 107 construction projects happening on campus.
“It’s been a very busy summer for the campus overall,” Ibeh said. “It’s a commitment to transforming the physical environment of the university for the benefit of our students.”
Here are updates on some of the primary projects that may affect classes or travel on Main Campus:
Completion: August 28
The Student Center atrium and first floor underwent major renovations as a part of Temple’s change in food service provider from Sodexo to Aramark. The food court was renovated to house new fast-food restaurants like Chick-fil-A, Saladworks, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches and BurgerFi. The colorful furnishings and cafeteria setup are “disorienting in a good way,” Ibeh said. The space was refurbished to be more open to encourage socialization in the Student Center, he added.
The atrium was also renovated to update the facade of the information desk and a new Starbucks, which officially opened on Monday. The lobby of the Student Center has been open since Aug. 22, but the Starbucks remained closed as employees completed training.
Completion: October, exact date TBD
The Bell Tower was resealed this summer, adding new bells that will ring every hour for the first time in decades. The project won’t be finished until October and will disrupt some student foot traffic on Main Campus around the centralized structure due to fencing off the area.
The tower itself is complete, but the circular structure at the bottom of it, called Lenfest Circle and dedicated to university trustee and longtime donor H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, will begin to have concrete poured this week. The tower will also be lit up at night by new lighting fixtures to increase visibility.
Students are advised they will not be able to travel around the east side of the tower between 12th and 13th streets until Lenfest Circle is complete, Ibeh said.
+ Alumni Circle
Completion: August 28
The Temple “T” has been installed in the Founder’s Garden to create a new, “vibrant part of campus,” Ibeh said. As a part of Temple’s long-term landscape plan Verdant Temple, Founder’s Garden and Alumni Circle were revamped with new seating and stone and brickwork to match Liacouras Walk, which was updated last summer. The university is working to build a waterfall at the corner of Polett and Liacouras walks, just behind the statue of founder Russell Conwell, which will be completed by mid-September.
The cartoon-like owl that once perched atop Alumni Circle has been replaced by a much more monstrous successor — the new owl’s wingspan is more than nine feet long.
To travel between Alumni Circle and Founder’s Garden, a path of rocks has been laid for students and faculty to walk across.
“The idea is to make [Founder’s Garden]…attractive and inviting and open so it’s visible and usable for our students, faculty and staff,” Ibeh said.
Aramark STAR Complex
Completion: August 28
The Aramark Student Training and Recreation Complex on the corner of Montgomery Avenue and 15th Street opened classrooms for students in the College of Public Health and new recreation facilities for student use.
Two floors of classrooms were opened for CPH students, who previously had been sharing classroom space in Pearson and McGonigle halls with other schools and colleges.
A 70-yard turf field was added for students to train, along with 8,000 square feet of free weights, ranging from 5 to 120 pounds. This new space is “the primary weight room on Main Campus,” according to the Campus Recreation website. The STAR Complex also houses the athletics department’s main offices.
Campus Recreation has replaced the climbing wall in Pearson Hall with a brand new climbing wall in the STAR Complex. The new wall features various terrains and overhangs for climbers to try. The climbing wall is tentatively scheduled to open on Sept. 11 at 8 a.m. Nearby in the lobby is a Jamba Juice store, selling fruit smoothies.
A two-lane running track, which will circle the STAR Complex, will be completed in September for public use. The track’s hours will be posted outside, Ibeh added.
1810 Liacouras Walk
+ Fox School of Business expansion
Completion: Fall 2018, exact date TBD
The Fox School of Business has begun its takeover of 1810 Liacouras Walk, which will add 77,000 square feet of space for classrooms, support staff to run its online programs and a skywalk to connect the building with Speakman and Alter halls.
Almost all services, except for Student Health Services, have been moved to new locations on campus. Student Health Services on the fourth floor of 1810 Liacouras Walk is the only service left in the building, with demolition underway in the rest of the building, Ibeh said. Tuttleman Counseling Services has been moved to the second floor of 1700 N. Broad St., where the athletics department once was before it moved to its permanent location in the STAR Complex.
The exterior of Speakman Hall is next on the list to be improved before construction for the skywalk begins. The addition will be updated with a terracotta material to improve the look of the building and to match 1810 Liacouras Walk.
Ibeh said the skywalk could be built off site, delivered and placed on the building for final renovations during off-work hours to avoid interrupting foot traffic on Liacouras Walk.
The alleyway between 1810 Liacouras Walk and the Beasley School of Law will be closed for the remainder of the academic year, so Ibeh advises Beasley students to plan to enter the school on Broad Street.
Completion: Fall break 2017
(exact date TBD)
Peabody Residence Hall, the university’s oldest residence hall, will be demolished during fall break. Ibeh said the land’s new purpose has not yet been determined.
Completion: Spring 2019, exact date TBD
The new university library, which has been under construction since 2015, is “finally out of the ground,” Ibeh said. Most of the last academic year was spent laying the groundwork for the 210,000-square-foot library.
During this academic year, construction workers will place steel beams to build the structure. By the end of the 2017-18 academic year, workers will place the exterior cladding and begin the interior renovations.
The project’s completion date has been pushed back again from its original projection of late 2018, to “early 2019,” Ibeh said, with no exact date finalized.
Environmentally conscious construction
In all of these projects, Ibeh said the university is committed to sustainability. For each new structure, Temple aims to reach at least one level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. LEED certifications are awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council at Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum rating levels. A certification is awarded depending on the levels of water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions that have been reduced.
Ibeh said his team works closely with the Office of Sustainability on all projects.
To be sustainable, the university manages the stormwater in each building and holds off on releasing it into the city’s sewer system until less busy times to avoid overloading the system, which reduces energy use. The university also is attempting to disconnect from the city’s sewer lines as much as possible to manage its own stormwater. Ibeh added his team hopes to add more green roofs throughout campus like the one set to be built on the new library.
“We are very conscious of being sustainable,” he added.