Temple Times Online Edition
    December 6, 2006
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Fox School breaks ground for new building

Alter Hall makes groundbreaking use of technology

Alter Hall groundbreaking
On Nov. 30, some 300 Temple staff and faculty members, students, alumni and friends gathered at the future site of Alter Hall, The Fox School of Business and Management’s new state-of-the-art facility. Above, with shovels in hand, are (from left) Dennis and Gisela Alter, whose transformational gift of $15 million enabled the building of Alter Hall, along with President Ann Weaver Hart, Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat and Raza Bokhari, a 2001 E.M.B.A. alumnus who recently donated $1 million toward the Campaign for Alter Hall.
Construction is already under way, and with cries of “See you in two years!” Fox School officials invited all to the opening of the technology-rich, eight-story building in the fall of 2008.
(Photo by Joseph V. Labolito / University Photography)

On Nov. 30, Temple University broke ground on its new state-of-the-art facility, Alter Hall, at 11 a.m., at Liacouras Walk and Montgomery Avenue, the site of this future home for The Fox School of Business and Management. 

With its central location and its spectacular curved metal roof, the $79 million Alter Hall will be a centerpiece of Temple’s Main Campus.       


At the ceremony, Temple President Ann Weaver Hart and Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat were joined by Gisela and Dennis Alter and other community and Temple dignitaries.


The festive groundbreaking, a celebration for all Fox School stakeholders — students, faculty, alumni, staff and the greater community and neighborhood  — also featured the ROTC color guard, the Pep Band from the Boyer College of Music and Dance and Hooter the Temple Owl. 


In its use of technology, Alter Hall itself can be described as groundbreaking.  Working with tech consultants at Acentech, Inc., world-renowned architect Michael Graves and his Philadelphia partner Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann are designing this much-needed new building to reflect The Fox School’s globally recognized quality and its emphasis on technology. 


Temple University and the Fox School will spend more than $8 million on technology and telecommunications. The building will incorporate innovation in smart classroom design, one of the longest stock tickers in the United States, a trading room/business simulation center, and other technology for teaching and learning designed to prepare students by mirroring a business environment (See “Alter Hall features”).  

‘Building Fox, Transforming Lives’


Dennis Alter, the chairman and chief executive officer of Advanta Corp., and his wife, Gisela, provided the impetus to build Alter Hall through their transformational gift of $15 million, the largest gift The Fox School has ever received.


The total fundraising goal for the project is $25.7 million, with another $4 million yet to be raised by The Fox School through its “Building Fox, Transforming Lives” Campaign for Alter Hall. The campaign reaches out to alumni, the community, and its faculty and staff. The project has also received support from The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


President Hart stressed the importance of Alter Hall to the Temple community and to the greater Philadelphia area. “As the principal supplier of management and professional talent in the area, The Fox School is a major player in fueling our region’s vibrant economic engine,” she said.


Richard J. Fox, the school’s namesake, who was chair of Temple’s Board of Trustees for 17 years and currently is a Temple trustee, gave context for the building, explaining, “The new building is being designed in a way that considers all The Fox School’s key themes: technology, entrepreneurship and innovation, globalization and ethics.”


Said Fox School Dean Porat, “Alter Hall is a significant link in the value chain enabling The Fox School to deliver world-class business management education. The building’s state-of-the-art technology gives us the opportunity to move our students further ahead on the technology curve and prepare them in the best way possible for their careers.”

Groundbreaking technology


Alter Hall’s design will enable The Fox School to continue to advance its position as a pioneer in applying technology in the classroom. Currently, The Fox School is one of the largest users of lecture capturing technology in the nation.


The new building also will give faculty access to tablet PCs to project and save their annotations for later use and review by students. Another teaching innovation will be “smart” classrooms with redesigned podiums with built-in control systems for room lighting, image control and podium height adjustment. 


Technology also will enhance lounges and work spaces. Besides the main first-floor student lounge, encircled by an electronic ticker-tape banner that is projected to be the longest such ticker at a U.S. university, students will find many areas with large flat-panel LCD displays for campus and world news, Internet stations for checking e-mail, and devices for reserving breakout rooms throughout the building.


Alter Hall builds on strong technology investments already made at Temple in the Ambler Learning Center, the Tuttleman Learning Center, Speakman Hall (the current home of The Fox School), and the new, highly acclaimed TECH Center. The advanced technology in these buildings has given Temple its well-earned reputation as one of the most connected universities in the nation.


Corporate-style collaboration


The new 200,000-plus square-foot, seven-story facility will dramatically increase the school’s existing space and consolidate, in one complex, classrooms and offices currently spread out in nine different buildings across campus.


Alter Hall will simulate the business environment with collaboration spaces to facilitate interaction among students, faculty and community and business leaders.


To encourage the teamwork that is intrinsic to the corporate world, the building will include breakout rooms, interview rooms, recruiting offices, conference centers and a Business Simulation Lab/Trading Room, where students will learn to trade securities and solve simulated finance and marketing problems.


Sophisticated classrooms will be tailored to facilitate learning through group work, not just lectures. In some classrooms, rows of desks will pivot so they can change from straight rows to quadrants, making discussion and teamwork easier.


Faculty also will benefit from an abundance of collaboration spaces. A communicating staircase connecting academic department will allow faculty to collaborate quickly and easily.


A ‘new era’ in business education

John DeAngelo, associate dean of information technology at The Fox School, explained, “Having all students and faculty in one building, the use of cutting-edge technology and the many meetings spaces throughout, will facilitate collaboration, communication and community, preparing students to work effectively as entrepreneurs or in a corporate environment.”


For all these reasons and more, the groundbreaking signals a new era for The Fox School.


“We’re happy to have finally arrived at the groundbreaking,” said Howard A. Cohen, the associate dean of The Fox School of Business and manager of the Alter Hall Campaign. “Not only will Alter Hall create a new business learning environment at Fox, but we envision Alter Hall as a home to our students, even after they graduate — a place where they can continue to learn from each other every day.”

For more information about the Fox School's new Alter Hall building, visit http://www.fox.temple.edu/alter.

Lisa Z. Meritz & Julia Straka

Alter Hall Features




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