During the State of the University Address on Thursday, President Richard Englert praised the university for building “new and vital bridges” with the surrounding community — and then he announced Temple is still pursuing an on-campus stadium.
The university wants the stadium to be a “multipurpose facility” that could house retail, research and classroom space, Englert added.
The Temple News believes an on-campus stadium would negatively affect North Philadelphia residents and could exacerbate existing problems, like litter and noise control.
But the more concerning issue brought up by Englert’s speech on Thursday is the lack of transparency from the university.
The Temple News reported in February that a feasibility study of the stadium by Ohio-based architecture firm Moody Nolan was “on hold.” The university approved $1.25 million for the study in February 2016. Temple Project Delivery Group’s Associate Vice President Dozie Ibeh, who is responsible for the oversight of all on-campus construction, confirmed he had not worked on the stadium “for months” at that time.
In an August meeting with the Stadium Stompers and Rep. Curtis Thomas, Englert said specifics of the stadium could not be discussed because the feasibility study was incomplete.
Somehow, within less than two months, the university felt like it had enough information about the stadium to publicly discuss it on Thursday. Englert told The Temple News there are “multiple” ongoing feasibility studies — even though the university only publicly approved the funds for one and has never announced another.
It is clear the university failed to update the community and students as it got closer to finalizing this “multipurpose facility.”
Community residents deserve a place at the table for these discussions so they can communicate their concerns. If the university is pushing for a stadium, it should be responsible for updating and reaching out to the people its presence will affect the most.
As members of the Temple community, we are all affected by the construction of an on-campus stadium — and we’re listening to anything top administrators have to say about it, if they decide to say anything at all.