Temple prepares to renovate and expand Paley

The new home of the College of Public Health is set to welcome students in Fall 2025.

Temple University is preparing to renovate and expand Paley Hall, with exterior demolition set to begin in February. Scheduled to reopen in Fall 2025, the reimagined building will be the new home of the College of Public Health and a centerpiece of Main Campus.

On Nov. 18, the university announced that Paley will undergo a 150,000-square-foot renovation and a 160,000-square-foot expansion, which will include the addition of a fourth floor and construction on the east side of the building toward 12th Street, said James Templeton, university architect and assistant vice president for the Project Delivery Group, a group that leads projects through planning, design and construction.

The building will feature classrooms, collaborative spaces and a teaching kitchen, said Jennifer Ibrahim, the interim dean of the College of Public Health.

The building will also include a simulation center for clinical instruction that will recreate hospital and outpatient facilities and multiple situations reflective of the health care in the North Philadelphia community, including an EMS ambulance simulation.

“We really see this as an ideal training ground, and it also opens the door for other disciplines to come and work in that space, as well,” Ibrahim said. “So I think that’s something that’s really going to kind of be the gem of the building.”

The opening of the completed building will mark the first time that all programs in CPH will call one space their home. The college is currently spread out across at least 12 buildings on the Main and Health Sciences Campuses.

The initial interior demolition started during winter break and exterior demolition will begin in mid-to-late February, said Martin Droz, associate vice president for the Project Delivery Group.

Final bids for construction on the project are expected to be submitted by early February, at which point the university will decide on a contractor and determine a final cost, Droz said.

Renovations are set to begin early this summer and construction on the addition will begin late summer or early fall. The design process has been completed and accounts for as much usable space as possible and plenty of natural light.

The building’s facade and north entrance will also be entirely redone while preserving as much of the existing structure as possible. The design will emphasize windows, a large lobby and an atrium to allow for more light than Paley currently has access to.

“That’s the overall biggest design challenge, a building that didn’t want daylight in it because it was a library, now we’re trying to make sure has the most daylight of almost any building on campus,” Templeton said.

The design team focused on matching the theme of other recent landscape projects with the Bell Tower area, and plans on preserving lawn space and creating both covered and uncovered outdoor areas to promote physical activity.

Both Droz and Templeton believe that building off the current structure is challenging, but very doable. The Project Delivery Group is planning for Paley Hall to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. 

LEED is a green building rating system that measures the sustainability of a building, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Project Delivery Group also intends to obtain a LEED Silver Certification, and design teams for the university produced plans with rain gardens, detention basins and other permeable surface areas to reach it, Templeton said.

Temple is also pursuing a WELL certification, which measures the health and well-being of the building’s occupants, Templeton said. Kitchenettes for workers and inviting cafe spaces are among the certification efforts being made.

As renovations begin, Pollett Walk will be unaffected by construction, most of which will be contained to the area immediately surrounding the building. The lawn area right next to the building will be under construction but the project will ultimately create more green space, Droz said.

The groundbreaking for the project will be on April 3, the first day of National Public Health Week, Ibrahim said.

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