Renovations at Anderson, Gladfelter halls continue

Final touches on the ongoing construction project should be completed by November.

Construction workers continue renovations at Anderson and Gladfelter Halls on Aug. 14. The project began July of 2019 with plans to continue through 2020. | CAMILLE COLEMAN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Ongoing renovations to the terrace, lobbies and walkways around Main Campus’ Anderson and Gladfelter halls will be completed in stages, said Julie Wiley, a representative of the university’s Project Delivery Group, Temple’s renovation and construction planning group.

The project, which closed much of the area around both halls last academic year, was projected to be completed before students arrived on campus this semester. 

But, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought delays.

On March 19, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all ongoing construction work in the state to stop due to COVID-19 public health precautions, which interrupted work for six weeks.

Supply-chain issues further delayed the renovations, but the construction got back on track relatively quickly, Wiley said.

“To be where we’re at with construction without having any activity take place on site for six weeks, it’s pretty remarkable,” Wiley added. “We’re quite pleased with that.”

The university opened the lobbies of both halls and the portion of Polett Walk facing 12th Street on Monday, said Dozie Ibeh, the associate vice president of the Project Delivery Group.

“With over a month of delay, we are still able … to turn over that lobby space for the start of classes,” Ibeh said. 

Reopening lobbies will open up several entrances to both halls that were closed by the construction, meaning students with classes in Gladfelter Hall will no longer need to enter through the Science Education and Research Center.

The remainder of Polett Walk is not projected to open until the end of September at the earliest, Wiley said, meaning commuters coming from the Temple University Regional Rail stop will have to wait a little longer to access between the two halls.

The work on the elevated plaza between the two halls, set to bring greenery, sitting space, elevators and ramps compliant with the American With Disabilities Act, will likely not be completed until later this fall, Wiley added.

Ray Ebner, an undeclared freshman relaxing in the newly-opened lobby of Anderson Hall, said he had seen the construction in progress while touring Main Campus before the pandemic. He was unaware it hadn’t yet been completed.

“I think it’s really open.” Ebner said, referring to the Anderson lobby. “It’s nice. It’s got to be one of the newer buildings, right?”

Sinh Taylor, a junior English major who serves as a student ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts, said she hadn’t heard anything about the construction’s progress, and was surprised with its current timeline.

“Considering the last time I was on campus was March and it very much did not look like it would be done anytime soon, I’m a little bit amazed,” Taylor said. “But I almost feel like it’s just one more space that people have to worry about exposure.”

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