Officials break ground at new library site

President Neil Theobald (left), Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O'Connor and Dean of Libraries Joe Lucia symbolically break ground at the construction site for the new library. | EVAN EASTERLING TTN
President Neil Theobald (left), Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O'Connor and Dean of Libraries Joe Lucia symbolically break ground at the construction site for the new library. | EVAN EASTERLING TTN

University officials gathered at the corner of 13th Street and Polett Walk Tuesday afternoon to recognize the university’s future library at a ground-breaking ceremony.

Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O’Connor, President Theobald and Dean of Libraries Joe Lucia spoke to a small crowd at the construction site, highlighting the opportunities the library will create while thanking key people for it becoming possible.

They then donned hard hats and shovels to turn over dirt and “break ground.”

Currently, there is not much to see at the site. D’Angelo Brothers Inc. equipment is everywhere and there is a wooden wall backed by steel beams outlining the floor of the site.

President Neil Theobald addresses the crowd during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new library on Tuesday. | EVAN EASTERLING TTN
President Theobald addresses the crowd during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new library on Tuesday. | EVAN EASTERLING TTN

Nathan McRae, the project manager for the architectural firm Snøhetta, says everything is going accordingly, and there haven’t been any huge complications so far.

“There’s an existing tunnel that was underneath Barton Hall which we decided to leave so that’s a little bit of an adjustment,” he said. “Fine tuning exactly what the right mix was of building area and the site was critical, but not necessarily an abnormal challenge.”

Lucia said the new center-piece of Temple’s campus is going to be more than just a library.

“It’s going to have a makerspace, an innovation lab, and a bunch of facilities that are different than what you find in a traditional library,” he said.

Lucia added there will be a large data visualization facility, a digital scholars studio and consultants for students.

“We’ll have consultants on site to work with students on research projects to basically make new kinds of products of academic work that are not just traditional papers but might be multimedia or even app related,” he said.

Lucia said the library will be more advanced than other prestigious libraries, like Hunt Library at Carnegie Mellon University.

“It’s probably in advance of what some of those places have now,” he said. “We’re putting a new stake in the ground in terms of what the state of the art is … I think other people will be looking to what we do and we’ll be the next blueprint.”

This state-of-the-art library will cost a $170 million and is the most expensive facilities project in Temple’s history. The plan will include an adjacent city block to green-space to become Temple’s first ever academic quad.

Dominic Barone can be reached at dominic.barone@temple.edu.

 

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