Once known as the ‘center for campus community,’ thousand of students usedto be seen strolling in and out of Temple University’s Student Activities Center.
Lately the building has been torn apart as part of a major renovation project has been underway. The building serves as headquarters to the many organizations on campus as well as a site for students to congregate and converse between classes.
A food court, Crossroads, offers a wide selection of food. The university’s bookstore is also on the premises. The center’s main purpose is to provide a place where students can work, eat, and socialize while feeling a sense of continuity.
The project, which will be split into two separate phases, began on June 1, 2000, when the demolition of the first floor of the SAC building occurred. Since then, the entire floor has been gutted and remodeling will begin soon.
The extensive undertaking in phase one includes 12,315 square feet of new space and 35,400 square feet of renovations. A 700-seat food court and a lounge will be added to the first floor along with an atrium.
Additional cafeteria space will help to avert a potential overcrowding problem in Fall of 2001 when a new 1,000-bed residence hall opens.
Henderson, Inc. and Kimmel Bogrette architects, based in Pennsylvania, conducted the demolition of the building and will also perform the remodeling stage.
According to Kenneth Bonk, Director of Student Activities, the first phase of renovation should be completed in about one year.
“We’re still shooting for August 2001,” Bonk said.
Construction will continue this week, following a brief period of downtime. Bonk added that the building might “be smoky and smelly” during the course of the next few months, and the building will probably be noisier as the work continues.
As of September 25, the building has been divided into two sections. The Crossroads/Dining entrance is located on 13th Street, while the SAC entrance is located on Montgomery Ave near 12th Street. These entrances do not allow access to the other section of the building.
When phase one is finished, students will have more selections in the food area. A new food bar will consist of home cooked items: pizza, pasta, vegetarian selections, various coffees, bakery items, a smoothie bar, a Burger King restaurant and a Taco Bell.
Phase two will provide more services including a conference center and additional space for student organizations.
There may be additional renovations if enough money remains.
“If funding is available it will be put to an addition to the south of the building,” Bonk said.
Phase two would not occur until phase one is concluded.
The entire project comes over thirty years after the SAC building was first opened. At the time, Temple University lacked space for students to assemble. As a consequence, the school newspaper ran a series of articles regarding the shortage of space. Students held a rally and gathered signatures for a petition in support of the establishment of a student center.
Though the Board of Trustees denied a preliminary proposal, a second pitch to open a center was approved in 1965. The center has remained at its original location – 13th and Montgomery Streets – since then.
In little under a year, the SAC building will have a new look – and a new feeling. The upgraded facility will allow for better working conditions.
“We need more community space – for a better sense of community,” Bonk said.