Posted August 21, 2013

Students move in at Temple, get first look at bright new residence hall complex

Joseph V. Labolito
Childhood friends Jessie Sargen and Travis Unger, of York, Pa., move in to Temple’s new Mitchell and Hilarie Morgan Residence Hall and Dining Complex.

Freshmen Jesse Sargen and Travis Unger pushed bright orange carts down Park Street with family members walking close behind.

“Are you sure you have everything?” asked Unger’s mom, Tammy, as she checked the cart filled with Toaster Strudels, extra pillows and paper towels, taking time to make sure that the boys had all they needed for their first days in college. 

For the Ungers and Sargens, the move to Temple was a family affair.

The two have known each other for years. They grew up together in York, Pa., graduated in the same high school class, and on Tuesday moved to the ninth floor of the newly opened Mitchell and Hilarie Morgan Residence Hall and Dining Complex — as roommates.

“It’s amazing,” said Tammy as they exited the gleaming new facility. “I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve only seen the building from the outside, but this is much more than we ever imagined.”

In the last decade, Temple has evolved from largely a commuter school to an increasingly residential university. While commuting students remain an important group, there are now an estimated 14,000 students who live on or near campus.

The new complex includes two residential buildings: a 27-floor tower known as Morgan Hall North that will house upperclassmen, and a ten-story, L-shaped mid-rise building, Morgan Hall South, that will house first-year and sophomore students. A third building overlooking Broad Street is host to a multitude of dining options, including a primary dining center, a café, Starbucks coffee shop, Tony Luke’s cheesesteaks, Auntie Anne’s pretzels and several others. A flagship restaurant, yet to be secured, is planned for the building’s street level.

The city-block sized residential and dining complex, which will house approximately 1,275 students, was built in response to student demand for more on-campus living options. The response by students moving in this week was almost uniformly positive. 

“I didn’t think it would be this nice,” said Unger, a criminal justice and political science major, as he looked out of his window on to the Philadelphia skyline. “I expected two desks, a bed and a closet. This is overwhelming and amazing.”

Sargen, also a criminal justice major, agreed. Both he and Unger have been looking forward to moving to Philadelphia together since they started their senior year in high school.

“Philadelphia is an amazing city,” Sargen said. “It was pretty much our first choice; it’s a lot different where we’re from.”

For students who want to live in the city, the Morgan complex is an important addition to Temple's on-campus housing mix. The facility offers opportunities to build connections around campus and with the local community.

In addition to providing more on-campus housing, Morgan Hall was designed and built to enhance campus life and create new connections to the surrounding neighborhoods and city. 

Welcome Week events continue through Sunday. Temple's first day of classes is Monday, August 26.