Temple University is signing contracts with development companies and mobilizing construction for several Main Campus renovation projects, said Dozie Ibeh, the associate vice president of Temple’s Project Delivery Group.
At its last meeting on March 16, Temple’s Board of Trustees approved $22 million in funding for three separate renovation projects to Ritter Hall, Speakman Hall and Liacouras Walk, The Temple News reported.
The Ritter Hall project has three phases, while the Speakman Hall project has four phases. Temple has funded the first two phases of both projects and fully funded the single phase Liacouras Walk project, Ibeh said.
Temple is ensuring that renovations to its facilities are designed for learning in a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, like reviewing HVAC ventilation units in buildings, Ibeh said.
“Making sure that it’s adequate as we move to a post-COVID environment and make sure there’s a lot of flexibility that allows us to work in a pre-pandemic and post-pandemic model,” Ibeh said.
Here are the details and schedules for each project.
Temple is working on the Phase One and Two of the Ritter Hall project, which include renovations to College of Education and Human Development spaces in Ritter Hall and the Howard Gittis Student Center, Ibeh said.
The Board approved $9 million dollars on March 16 to renovate the first and second floors, lobby and entrances of Ritter Annex and the second floor of Ritter Hall in Phase Two of the project, Ibeh said.
Temple will also convert the Kiva Auditorium into classrooms and administrative offices because the auditorium was outdated and not used often, Ibeh said.
“We are finding that those are some of the least efficient areas to be flexible with,” Ibeh said. “So our auditoriums, from an efficiency perspective in a pandemic or post-pandemic environment, is something we as an institution need to study carefully.”
Temple is renovating the Institute on Disabilities in the Howard Gittis Student Center in Phase One of the project, which Temple started in Fall 2020 and will complete in May, Ibeh said.
Temple will replace the windows in Ritter Hall in Phase Three of the project, which will not begin until 2022, most likely during the summer, Ibeh said.
All three phases of the Ritter Hall project will cost $20.6 million, Ibeh said. Temple received a $2 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the project.
Gregory Anderson, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, did not respond to a request for comment.
Temple is working on Phase Two of the Speakman Hall project, Ibeh said.
The Board approved an additional $5 million on March 16 to renovate Speakman Hall, which brings the total cost of the Speakman Hall project to $7.9 million for the first two phases, The Temple News reported.
The $5 million will go toward Phase Two of the Speakman Hall project, which includes renovating administrative offices, classrooms, hallways and restrooms on the ground floor of Speakman Hall, Ibeh said.
Temple plans to complete the renovations in Phase Two before or during the fall semester, Ibeh said.
“These new spaces are more open and inviting, both for students and staff alike,” wrote Ronald Anderson, the dean of the Fox School of Business and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, in an email to The Temple News. “The timing is also ideal, as everything should be complete prior to this fall when a larger number of students are expected to return to campus.”
In Phase One, which Temple completed, the university renovated administrative offices, classrooms, hallways and advising offices on the first floor of Speakman Hall, Ibeh said.
In Phases Three and Four, Temple will renovate administrative offices, classrooms, hallways and advising offices on the third and fourth floors of Speakman Hall, respectively, Ibeh said.
Temple will start each phase of the Speakman Hall project at the end of the spring semester and hopefully complete them by the fall semester, Ibeh said.
“We have a plan with the school to do pretty much one phase a year,” Ibeh said.
The Board approved $8 million to repair damaged pavement on Liacouras Walk between Montgomery and Cecil B. Moore avenues as part of Temple’s master plan to create Liacouras Walk South with an adjacent plaza and green space, The Temple News reported.
Construction will begin in a couple of months and will close off that section of Liacouras Walk, Ibeh said.
“Students will be asked to walk or come down 13th Street or Broad Street and not walk through that zone in the fall,” Ibeh said.
Construction on Liacouras Walk will run into the fall semester and could close that section of Liacouras Walk for the entire fall semester, Ibeh said.
Jenna Zenouzi contributed reporting.