Post 20/20 era begins for Temple

The Visualize Temple initiative will focus on future development.

Four years and six projects since the 20/20 plan initiated in 2009, the university is hitting the drawing boards again as administrators begin to unroll a new master development plan for the future design of the university’s regional campuses.

The new master plan, under the name “Visualize Temple,” is an “evolution” of the major development project started by 20/20, James Creedon, senior vice president for construction, facilities and operations, said. It will focus more on open-source input from students and faculty and will replace many of the unfinished projects left behind by 20/20, as the university conducts a self-study on the needs of the university’s various areas.

“This isn’t just to say, ‘Where do you put buildings on a map?’ This is really to make the business cases for, ‘What do we need next, what’s the strategy behind what we need?’” Creedon said.

Launched in May 2009, 20/20 consisted of close to a dozen projects throughout Main Campus. These projects included the renovations of Pearson and McGonigle halls and Edberg-Olsn Hall, the Architecture Building, Morgan Hall, the Montgomery Street parking garage and the Science and Technology Building currently under construction between Gladfelter Hall and the Engineering Building.

In addition to the projects already underway, the design of a new library originally conceived under 20/20 will continue in the new master plan.

“The library is going to provide us an opportunity to rethink how students learn. This will not be a library like [Paley Library], nothing like that. It won’t be stacks of books,” President Neil Theobald said.

While the plan for the new library under the Temple 20/20 master plan positioned the library as a “signature building” on North Broad Street, Theobald said he would like to see the library positioned on the east side of Broad Street along with the majority of Temple’s academic buildings.

“In my mind, Broad Street kind of divides us. The east side is the academic side and the west side is the Liacouras Center and some housing. I think it’s very likely to end up on the east side,” Theobald said.

Beyond that, much is unknown and is left to be decided through the coordinated efforts of students, faculty and administrators.

“There are a whole series of questions between 20/20 and taking your next step that need to be answered,” Creedon said. “No one has any ideas for buildings or those types of things; it is way too early for that.”

Provost Hai-Lung Dai said that in order to coordinate the needs of the university’s academics into the next master plan, his office will be forming nine groups composed of faculty and staff to analyze nine different areas of development: research and research space, teaching space and technology needs, college organizational needs focused on consolidating schools spread across several buildings, new emerging disciplines, online and distant education, integration of regional campuses, the new library, increased collaboration between the Health Sciences Campus and Main Campus and residential organization.

Theobald said the organizational needs of the colleges is one of the fundamental problems that has to be addressed in designing a new layout to Main Campus.

“A real problem we have now is we have schools scattered across buildings. Everyone is somewhere. How do we geographically put them together?” Theobald said.

Several projects originally laid out in Temple 20/20’s executive summary have been put under re-evaluation as the university plans to conduct a thorough internal search to determine what schools and facilities need improvement. The unsettled projects include two high-rise structures planned for the spaces currently occupied by Peabody Hall and the Triangle Apartment complex. Other projects were laid out at Ritter Hall and adjacent to Weiss Hall.

In addition to new construction, the university will continue with plans to open up areas on Main Campus to add green space. Upon the completion of the Science and Technology Building, Creedon said the university will begin phasing out Barton Hall; the current plan is to add green space along Liacouras Walk in its place.

“There is no lack of desire to have open space on this campus. Recognizing that, if we want to grow as a university that’s in an urban setting you are going to have to use some of your open space to build on, but we want to maximize that as much as we can,” Creedon said.

Creedon also confirmed plans that the university will be adding renovations to the Beasley School of Law.

In order to gauge the needs of the university, the SmithGroupJJR, an architectural and planning firm, has been contracted to design the next phase of development on Main Campus.

SmithGroup has previously worked at colleges such as Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Stephen F. Austin State University and the University of Michigan.

SmithGroup was chosen out of six proposals and three candidates, Creedon said, and will begin conducting campus tours throughout this week and next, meeting with student representatives, the athletic department, Dai, representatives from the Health Sciences Campus and the Council of Deans.

The first idea launched by SmithGroup and taken up by the university was to design a website where students and faculty could sign in to provide their own ideas for what they would like to see done as part of a new university development plan.

The site, which will be launched within the next few weeks, is an attempt by the university to use technology to allow students to give input on their own time.

“[Students think] ‘I’m going to be away for the summer,’” Creedon said. “Well you’re not really away, because you have this site to come back to, and then what will happen is in the fall when we come back, there’s going be a whole bunch of ideas out there.”

The university tested the idea of generating student input at a booth set up for Spring Fling. Students were asked to write on a blackboard what they would most like to see at Temple in the next 10 years.

Creedon said that the biggest answer received from students was not what administrators expected: a Wawa.

“Hopefully we will get some more specific answers as the process goes, but to me that is a good thing. It kind of tells us that people are saying ‘Yeah, we would like to see this place differently,’” Creedon said.

The idea of using online input from students was a concept Creedon said SmithGroup brought from working at Marshall University. It was a part of the proposal idea that helped the university chose SmithGroup over other candidates.

SmithGroup and administrators from the office of the president, the provost’s office and facilities management will meet next fall to begin developing specific projects for the Visualize Temple plan, with the goal of creating a plan for the university to last a decade beyond the initial timeline of Temple 20/20.

“We put all of that together and say, ‘OK, given our academic plan, this is what have space-wise right now, this is how we get from where we are in 2013, or by the time this is done 2014, to 2030. This will be our blueprint for the next 15 years,” Theobald said.

While no funding has yet been guaranteed, Creedon said that money will most likely come from capital grants from the state, the university’s own reserves or borrowing.

John Moritz can be reached at or on Twitter @JCMoritzTU.

Sean Carlin contributed to this report. 


  1. Why do planning consultants waste time interviewing students – a WaWa ?! That was the earth shattering idea for Visualize Temple – a freagin’ WaWa!

  2. If the library is built east of campus, where’s it gonna go? AND isn’t the pavillion is being closed specifically for the library to be built in its place?

      • They are leaving the Pavilion up for an indoor football facility! YES, you read me correctly. President Theobald just threw out the most exciting part of the 20/20 plan and gave it to the football team!!!

        Broad Street was supposed to become Temple’s gateway — a destination where students and others walked down the street. What a shame! Can this Indiana man see the vision that we all wanted????????

        Oh! And the library is replacing Barton. Barton was supposed to be torn down anyways but it was going to be a student quad/park. So now we’re not going to have that. Thanks President Theobald. Great first decision!!!

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