New library still planned for Main Campus

Contrary to reports earlier today, university officials told The Temple News that the university hasn’t scrapped plans to build a new library. Reports suggesting that Temple will update Paley Library instead of constructing a new facility are false.

“We’re building a new library,” said James Creedon, senior vice president for facilities, management and operations. “We will reinvigorate or do something new with Paley, but it won’t be in place of a new library.”

The library was previously slated to be built on North Broad Street as part of the 20/20 plan, which was the university’s “framework for campus development” under former President Ann Weaver Hart.

President Neil Theobald said last September, a month after he was named president, that he was excited about the prospect of a new library and its location on Broad Street.

“The ability to plan, from scratch, a new library, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do as someone who’s been a professor most of my life,” Theobald said at the time. “There is little at a university, especially a 21st century university, that is more important than a library, so I love the idea that it’s right on Broad [Street] and very visible.”

In an interview with The Temple News in April, he reiterated that the library wouldn’t be like Paley, however, he said he would like to see it on the east side of Main Campus.

“The library is going to provide us an opportunity to rethink how students learn. This will not be a library like [Paley Library], nothing like that. It won’t be stacks of books,” Theobald said. “In my mind, Broad Street kind of divides us. The east side is the academic side and the west side is the Liacouras Center and some housing. I think it’s very likely to end up on the east side.”

The president confirmed this in August when he said the library is “certainly going to be on the east side of Broad” Street.

The exact location of the new library has not been announced as the university develops its new master plan through its Visualize Temple initiative, which was launched at the end of last semester.

Snøhetta, a Norwegian firm that has designed the Alexandria Library in Egypt, the James B. Hunt Memorial Library at North Carolina State University and the Ryerson University Library in Toronto, is designing the library.

Campus planner meets with students on Visualize Temple

Representatives from SmithGroupJJR, the architectural panning firm hired to develop the Visualize Temple campaign, met with students on Tuesday night in the Architecture Building to hear ideas for the the university’s next master plan.

Douglas Kozma, the principal campus planner for SmithGroup, led a slideshow explaining to students the various factors SmithGroup is looking at in planning their outline. The presentation included graphic presentations displaying the concentration of residential housing, classrooms, and faculty offices around Main Campus.

Based on the data presented, Kozma said that the group had concluded that general and liberal arts activities were focused near the Bell Tower area on campus. The campus map outlined the area around Norris Street as the creative center on campus, 12th Street as the technological corridor and the south of campus as the hub of professional studies. Kozma said that Broad Street represents the public face of campus.

When asked what they saw as the future of Main Campus, students responded with a variety of answers including greater integration with other city and regional campuses, more green space, organic and healthy dining options and better transportation services.

“A master plan, if done well, should address cars, bikes, buses and trains,” Kozma said.

Sibia Ranjbar, a PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering, said that Temple needed to improve services for graduate students. Ranjbar suggested that in building the new library, the designers include resources specifically geared towards researchers.

Other students said the university needs to do better at reaching out to the surrounding community and easing relations between the growing student population living off-campus and local residents.

Some suggestions proposed by the students included building more on-campus housing and shopping.

Kozma reiterated that no plans as part of the Visualize Temple campaign include expanding on the current footprint.

Kozma did say that SmithGroup has discovered that there are no legal restrictions against building a bridge across Broad Street, though there appeared to be an unwritten rule.

Another part of SmithGroup’s presentation included the idea of placing the new library in the current location of Barton Hall, which is to be demolished after the new Science and Technology Building is finished.

“I think if you don’t consider the library the center of campus then the university is doing something wrong,” said Nick Kokiko, a senior sports recreation management major.

The university is expected to unveil the Visualize Temple master plan this fall.

Open House held for Visualize Temple

Students and faculty met today with representatives from Smith Group, the design consulting firm in charge of developing a plan for Visualize Temple, in Mitten Hall to discuss their own ideas for a new campus profile.

More than 175 people showed up for the event, said James Creedon, senior vice president for construction, facility and operations, from as far away as Temple’s Harrisburg Campus.

Students sat down at a variety of round tables to speak with representatives from Smith Group and write down their ideas on a variety of topic-related white boards, Creedon said.

One of the most popular discussion areas, Creedon said, was transportation, where many students submitted ideas about more biking options on campus.

“It is like an extension to the Visualize Temple website, but with a little bit more interaction,” Creedon said.

Creedon said that administrators have not yet gone over the results from the event, and thus had not yet determined if it yielded any ideas not yet discussed on the website launched in May.

This is the second time Smith Group has come to Main Campus to meet with students and faculty about Visualize Temple. In May, they met with Student Government, athletics and other groups.

Yesterday, they met with the Faculty Steering Committee which includes Provost Hai-Lung Dai and President Neil Theobald.

Prior to this afternoon’s event, Smith Group met with the Council of Deans. Tomorrow they will meet with administrators to discuss items related to the new library, now set to be built east of Broad Street.

Creedon said that today’s event, held from noon to 2 p.m., was meant to provide a “more general open house” atmosphere.