TEMPLE UNIVERSITY is publishing a new draft comprehensive campus plan today, "Visualize Temple," as an "action plan" for campus development over the next 15 to 20 years.
"Temple is positioned to become one of America's premier urban universities," the plan states. It cites doubling the university's research capacity and investing in new facilities as major goals.
"This crucial strategic framework for planning and development touches on practically every aspect of university life, spans all domestic campuses and is nothing short of transformational," Temple President Neil D. Theobald said in a statement yesterday.
Key elements are: the construction of a new state-of-the-art library at the current site of Barton Hall, between Liacouras Walk and 13th Street; and a new, city-block-sized central green space to give Temple's North Philadelphia main campus its first-ever academic quad, or central gathering area, which would be open to the public.
The green space will be bounded by 13th Street, Polett Walk, 12th Street and Norris Street, and will be surrounded by the new library to the west, on 13th Street; a new science corridor to the east, on 12th Street; and the Tyler School of Art to the north, across Norris Street.
The quad will expand north of the area now called Beury Beach, near the Bell Tower - after the demolitions of both Beury Hall and the Biology-Life Sciences Building. The demolitions are expected in about five years after a new science building is completed.
The "Visualize Temple" plan updates the "Temple 20/20 Plan" prepared in 2008 under Temple's former president Ann Weaver Hart, said James P. Creedon, senior vice president for construction, facilities and operations.
One of the changes from Temple 20/20 - decided a year ago - is the current plan to put the new library in a central campus location rather than on Broad Street.
"The thought was that the library needed to be closer to the heart of the campus and the academic buildings as opposed to on the west side of Broad Street," Creedon said.
Other elements of the plan are:
* A new interdisciplinary science building, on 12th Street, at Norris, near the new Science Education and Research Center which opened this fall.
* The expansion of the College of Engineering.
* A consolidated home for the College of Public Health (formerly the College of Health Professions and Social Work).
And there are recommendations for Temple's Center City, Podiatry, Ambler and Health Sciences campuses, as well.
"Visualize Temple" describes a "Verdant Temple," with more open space and improved pedestrian walkways. Both Polett and Liacouras walks are to be expanded.
The university engaged with SmithGroupJJR, a nationally recognized architecture, engineering and planning firm to guide its planning process, which involved interactive discussions with students and faculty.
Creedon said the proposals in the 197-page document are intended for Temple's current footprint, including plans for an athletic field at the old William Penn High School site, at Broad Street near Master.
Temple's men's and women's soccer teams practice at the Ambler campus, he said. A second student recreation area will be at Broad and Norris.
After comments from students, faculty and the public, the plan goes to Temple's Board of Trustees in December.
The public may view the plan at this site: http://bit.ly/1wKGOpy.
The Temple community can continue to comment on the plan at https://visualize.temple.edu.
On Twitter: @ValerieRussDN