Temple Times Online Edition
    JANUARY 19, 2006
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A bittersweet farewell to Curtis Hall

curtis hall
Photo by Betsy Manning
Between Dec. 19 and Dec. 29, Curtis Hall was demolished to make space for the new Alter Hall building.

Remember the wall of phone booths in Curtis Hall — the phones no one ever seemed to make a call from?

As a wrecking ball pounded its way eastward through Curtis Hall in late December, staff, faculty and students lined the south side of Montgomery Avenue, jumping a bit each time the ball dropped and sharing memories in between.

Facilities employees who had worked the hot summer months outdoors knew that Curtis Hall had the worst-tasting water on Main Campus.

Students wondered to each other, why did the Curtis entryways often smell slightly sour?

And yet, as one alumnus put it, Curtis “was the building where you had the most boring class, and also the hardest class, you took at Temple. You came out of it changed.”

For one faculty member (and many others), it was the place where he met his future wife.

No one voiced regrets that Curtis Hall, at 13th Street and Montgomery Avenue, has made way for the Fox School of Business’ new Alter Hall.

But it is remembered fondly, as the place nearly every Temple student entered at some point, a shared experience across disciplines for several generations.

When construction on Curtis Hall began in 1955, it was the first building in a 10-year expansion program: Cecil B. Moore to Diamond, Broad to 12th.

Until then, Temple had been so cramped, it was using converted kitchens and bedrooms in rowhomes for classroom space.

Named for early Temple benefactor Cyrus C.K. Curtis, founder of the Saturday Evening Post and former president of Curtis Publishing Co., Curtis was the future: Three-and-a-half stories high; 50 classrooms for up to 2,000 students; predominant windows; modern, functional architecture.

It was the first Temple building to be completely air-conditioned.

In October 2004, The Fox School accepted a lead gift from Gisela and Dennis Alter of $15 million toward the new $78 million Alter Hall.

Currently, donors have pledged $16 million toward the $28 million the school must raise to build Alter Hall.

By the end of 2006, Fox anticipates reaching $22 million toward its goal. Additional naming and other gift opportunities are available for Alter Hall’s new state-of-the-art spaces. 

alter hall
Image courtesy The Fox School of Business

The 200,000-plus-square-foot, seven-story facility is being designed by architect Michael Graves in collaboration with Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates of Butler, Pa.

Visit the Fox School Web site at http://sbm.temple.edu/alter to learn more about the Alter Hall building campaign.







- By Betsy Winter