Since discussions began about a potential on-campus stadium, a university task force has met twice to explore its alternative uses.
The task force’s meetings—led by the Director of the Sports Industry Research Center and Faculty Athletics Representative Jeremy Jordan—involve brainstorming and exchanging ideas, Jordan said.
“The president charged me to put together a committee that could explore ideas of uses outside football,” Jordan said. “I tried to get people that purposefully represent all the different groups on campus.”
Members include representatives from the College of Public Health, the Provost’s Office, Facilities Management, athletics, faculty, Temple Student Government, Community Relations, Student Affairs and designers from the Tyler School of Art.
The “idea-generation body” of about 15 members is in its early stages, Jordan said. Though the stadium has not been approved by the Board of Trustees, the task force is currently “operating under the assumption that there will be a stadium.”
The potential for an on-campus stadium to be multi-purpose includes additional uses like space for hospitality, meetings, classes, non-athletic events, research, retail, storage and housing.
Research included looking at multiple multi-purpose urban stadiums, Jordan said. The University of Houston’s stadium has a marching band recital hall and classroom space, Baylor University has function rooms that are available year-round and the University of Akron has 8,000 square feet of academic space used six days a week as well as the university’s Sport Science and Wellness Education Department.
The task force has not identified any specific priorities yet.
“It’s a free-flow of ideas right now,” Jordan said. He added that the ideas for additional uses are based on the university’s “needs.”
Jordan updated the Faculty Senate steering committee on the task force’s progress on March 5, Faculty Senate President Tricia Jones said. Though Jones is not a member of the task force, she emphasized faculty representation.
“My primary role was to make sure that faculty voice was heard on the task force and to make sure there’s as much dialogue as possible between faculty and administration,” Jones said. “The faculty aren’t gung-ho, but there’s a lot less resistance than there was.”
“Initially in the fall, there was a general sense that there was a lot of missing information and a lot of skepticism,” she added. “[Administration] started really trying honestly very hard to meet with faculty in collegiate assemblies and in the Faculty Senate to share information about the stadium and that has become an ongoing discussion that is a lot more constructive. … Every time we’ve asked, Will you come and will you answer anything we ask of you?’ they’ve showed up.”
Student Body President Ryan Rinaldi, Vice President of Services Brittany Boston and Executive Communications Director Ben Palestino are student representatives for TSG.
“This is a conversation that is very raw at this point and we’re still trying to hash out a lot of the ideas,” Rinaldi said. “We don’t know how much space we’re working with, we don’t know what we’re working with, because the stadium hasn’t even been approved.”
Rinaldi added that the task force is “fluid” and more members are added as necessary.
“Space is in very high demand and we want to have as many people a part of the conversation as possible,” he said.
As the current TSG administration leaves office, the new administration, Empower TU, will join the task force following its induction next Monday.
The task force’s findings will be published as a public list of recommendations, projected to be released before the BOT’s meeting in July, Jordan said.
If the stadium is approved, the design of the stadium will move forward and the recommendations will inform the design process, he added.
The $1 million feasibility study approved by the BOT in February is still in progress, exploring the costs of alternate use, fundraising and feasibility with the community. The city’s position on the stadium is still in question, Jones said.
“Unless somebody comes up with a hell of a lot of money and a really nice space in Philadelphia they’re going to give us to build a stadium in a different way, we just don’t have that many options left,” Jones said. “It’s not wide-open the way we initially thought it was.”
Lian Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Lian_Parsons.
CORRECTION: In a version of this article that appeared in print April 12, 2016, it incorrectly states that the College of Public Health is the College of Health Professions. The Temple News regrets the error.