A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held by Temple officials at 2 p.m. today to announce the debut of a new café and bookstore at Temple University Center City, as well as numerous additions to the lobby and classrooms throughout the 130,000-square-foot space.
Speakers at the unveiling included President Theobald, Provost Hai-Lung Dai, TUCC Director William Parshall and Paul Levy, the president and CEO of the Center City District.
Theobald said the additions were needed in Center City because of Temple’s overall impact in Philadelphia.
“We are energizing Philadelphia, and that’s why we need to be at the city’s center,” Theobald said in his speech. “This is the appropriate spot for us to be.”
Along with improvements to the bookstore and café – managed by Barnes and Noble – exterior signage has been added, along with digital displays in the lobby. In the building itself, the Fox Business School upgraded its MBA student lounge and added eight breakout rooms, as well as creating a new Collaborative Learning Studio.
Also, the School of Media and Communication upgraded technology in its Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab, and TUCC will now house the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, a partnership between the Beasley School of Law and the city’s legal community.
Levy told the Temple News that renovations were needed because of the building’s proximity to public transportation.
“You’re sitting right on top of the entire regional transit system here,” Levy said. “This is a hugely accessible place for students … so it’s for students of all ages, to keep animating and activating the city.”
Parshall told The Temple News that improvements to TUCC are part of a citywide plan to improve the look of the Center City District, with the addition of Dilworth Park last September and SEPTA’s plan to renovate the subway stops at City Hall on the Broad Street Line and 15th Street on the Market Frankford Line.
He added that the additions will help Temple stay competitive with other universities in the district, which includes Drexel at Broad and Vine streets and Villanova in United Plaza, located at 17th and Market streets.
“We see this as a way of strengthening our competitive position versus some of these other schools,” Parshall said. “And so far, the response we have gotten from students has been very positive.”
In terms of future plans, Levy said future plans include renovating the plaza adjacent to TUCC. He added that since the space is owned by two separate property owners, collaboration may be tricky, but necessary for staying on track with Center City improvements.
“[The city] just finished Dilworth, and is working on improving LOVE Park,” Levy said. “This has been a relatively empty space for about 60 years, so it’s about time.”