Temple University is finalizing renovations to Anderson and Gladfelter Halls and Polett Walk as part of its East Gateway Project. The university completed the most significant renovations to the walkway and Anderson Hall lobby in December 2020.
The university added a new lobby for the College of Liberal Arts in Anderson Hall with couches and tables, light fixtures and wood strips to the ceiling of the tunnel between 11th and 12th streets and a new red staircase leading to the roof above the 12th Street Vendor Pad.
Temple also renovated the roof between Anderson and Gladfelter Halls and expanded the tunnel between 11th and 12th streets.
“We wanted to make the space more attractive to the students and the larger Temple community so that it will be a used location rather than what it was currently, not being used by many on campus,” said Dozie Ibeh, the associate vice president for the Project Delivery Group, Temple’s construction and renovation planning group.
The new lobby in Anderson Hall creates a bigger space and community environment for students traveling to and from classes, said Richard Deeg, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
“We lacked really a common space where people could gather and where students could study between classes, or faculty and students could gather,” Deeg said.
The College of Liberal Arts wanted a space that could build a strong community within the college, Deeg said.
The project opened up the tunnel along Polett Walk between 11th and 12th streets to allow more natural light to enter the previously “gloomy space,” which receives frequent foot traffic from students and faculty, Ibeh said.
“We wanted to enhance the space and make it a lot more inviting, identify the 11th Street area as the entry point, the eastern gateway into the university,” he added.
Sean Gallagher, a sophomore financial planning major, uses the tunnel to walk to his job with Temple facilities management on 10th Street near Montgomery Avenue, he said.
“Coming from the apartment where I live, this thing opening up saves me so much time,” he said. “It looks beautiful too.”
The initial catalyst for the renovations, which began in July 2019, was the leaky roof between Anderson and Gladfelter Halls, Ibeh said. The university decided to complete the roof, tunnel and lobby in this area of campus at once, he added. The university also mentioned a renovation of Anderson and Gladfelter Halls in their 2014 master plan known as “Visualize Temple.”
The plan outlined implementing a “technology-rich” space to improve the classroom experience and removing the overhead platform at Gladfelter and Anderson Halls, according to the master plan. The document also addresses planned Main Campus alterations, including improved classrooms in Wachman Hall; building Charles Library, which opened in August 2019; and renovating Ritter Hall, which the College of Education and Human Development allocated $5 million for in 2020.
The Project Delivery Group is currently in the early stages of working on other campus construction projects, like the renovation of Paley Hall for use by the College of Public Health and redesigning Ritter Hall for the College of Education and Human Development, Ibeh said.
The College of Liberal Arts advising center and professional development center, which were previously housed in Paley Hall, have been moved to the first floor of Gladfelter Hall to make way for these new renovations, Deeg said.
Temple is holding around 13 percent of its classes in person this semester, but plans to hold classes primarily in person for the Fall 2021 semester, The Temple News reported.
The East Gateway Project still requires some finishing touches, like planting greenery and installing furniture on the roof between Anderson and Gladfelter Halls, Ibeh wrote in an email to The Temple News. The tunnel and Anderson lobby are open for student use, while the roof will be opened up once the weather gets better, he wrote.
“I like the renovations inside the building,” said Anthony Martini, a junior sport and recreation management major. “It gives Anderson and Gladfelter a different look.”
The project is considered the “last leg” of a string of hardscape university renovations between Broad and 11th streets, Ibeh said.
Previous hardscape renovations include Charles Library, which displays a stone-covered exterior that blends in with its surroundings and utilizes green infrastructure, The Temple News reported.
The Project Delivery Group had encountered some setbacks in the East Gateway Project due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as Gov. Tom Wolf closed nonessential businesses on March 16, 2020, The Temple News reported.
The East Gateway Project was on pause for six weeks from March 20, 2020, to May 4, 2020, due to the governor’s restrictions, Ibeh wrote in an email to The Temple News.
Wolf announced that construction sites were allowed to reopen on May 8, 2020, as long as they followed COVID-19 guidelines, like social distancing, The Temple News reported.
Supply-chain issues in August 2020 also delayed the construction at Anderson and Gladfelter Halls, The Temple News reported.
“This project, and any of our projects, our objective is always to improve the physical environment on Temple’s campuses,” Ibeh said. “That’s our objective to, you know, create better learning environments, to create spaces that are safe and comfortable and that are attractive to people and our students.”
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