A 20/20 Update from President Hart
— David Waldstreicher, editor
President Hart Outlines Building Plans at Faculty Town Hall Meeting
On November 16, before about forty faculty members, President Hart fleshed out the ambitious picture of a new “destination” campus not too far on the horizon.
She began by noting that when she arrived at Temple, she was told that there was no master plan for the campus and shouldn’t be; if there was, she was told, “everyone” would just tell her what to do. Nevertheless, she thought it necessary to have a “flexible” plan, a “living document” with a ten to twelve year vision that would answer the question of what needed to be done to Temple’s physical setting in order to accomplish the goals of the Academic Strategic Plan.
The six major aspects of the plan are:
• Temple will build but remain within its current “footprint,” partly in response to the concerns of area residents
• to improve and replace aging facilities
• to add 2000 beds, in response to students who wish to be on campus
• to increase indoor and outdoor recreation space, including green space
• to replace surface parking with “structured parking” (parking buildings)
• to “focus urban energy on Broad Street”
The first major project, the renovation of Pearson-McGonigle, is on schedule for completion during the Fall of 2011. New features will include more open space and energy producing windmills on the top of the building.
A new architecture building will also be completed during the Fall of 2011. With lots of glass and windows, its design has been described as relatively edgy for Temple. But as one of the trustees voting on the plan put it, “it is, after all, an Architecture building.”
Ground has been broken on a residential, dining, and retail complex on the corner of Broad and Cecil B. Moore, with 1500 suite-style beds and some family housing. Barton Hall has been deemed “irretrievable” and will be replaced by a 250,000 square foot science and
education research building. The Barton space will become greenspace and make possible the first “quad” at Temple.
And eventually a new library will sit to the north of Pearson- McGonigle on what to most of the faculty is “the other side” of a transformed, better lit Broad Street, which will have marked pedestrian pathways. The Avenue of the Arts corporation has secured funding for a “demonstration” lighting project with a new kind of street lamp that would be hidden by trees. “We’ll get a much more exciting building for not much more than it would cost to try to fix Paley.” Because Paley has “good bones” – weight-bearing library floors – it will be developed for other, yet-to-be- determined uses – possibly a research center, a home for Student Life, or another tech center.
The faculty present who spoke up received the plans with considerable enthusiasm. Unsurprisingly, some asked questions about how the new buildings would be paid for. President Hart noted that some funds would come from special Commonwealth appropriations; some, hopefully, from donors; and the rest from bond issues and borrowing at this propitious moment of low interest rates. In response to questions about
maintenance and sustainability, she noted that she expected new buildings to meet current standards, and that efforts are underway to reduce the costs of maintenance and operations gradually so as to cushion the impact of new buildings on the budget.
One faculty member asked whether a new child care facility had been considered. The President said in response that there does not seem to be sufficient interest in a full time, five-day-a-week child care program. Faculty members and staff want “drop-in” child care, whereas private providers are only interested in full time, monthly fee services.