Posted November 16, 2015
Progress begins at William Penn site to create athletic fields south of campus
The planned state-of-the art facility will provide much needed space for intercollegiate and recreational sports.
Joseph V. Labolito
Temple University is moving forward with plans to bring athletic and recreation fields for students to the former William Penn High School site, two blocks south of Morgan Hall.
The former high school will come down in two phases. The east side of the structure, which will house Temple’s new athletic fields, will be cleared by February 2016. Removal of the west side of the site, which runs along Broad Street, will be completed in the summer of 2016.
"This project will have a great impact on Temple University athletics as well as the entire student body."
-- Patrick Kraft, director of athletics
Temple will use most of the site for intercollegiate soccer and lacrosse, field hockey, track and field, as well as student recreation space for intramural and club sports. Men’s and women’s soccer, which currently play at Temple Ambler, are expected to begin playing on the new site in fall 2016. In addition to two fields on the site, there will be a small locker room facility and bleachers.
"This project will have a great impact on Temple University athletics as well as the entire student body," said Patrick Kraft, director of athletics. "Not only will it bring our men's and women's soccer teams back to main campus, but it will provide a state of the art facility that will enhance the overall student-athlete experience for those programs as well as field hockey, lacrosse and track and field. It also will provide much-needed space for recreation sports that benefits the university as a whole."
The university plans to partner with the Laborers’ District Council (LDC) Education and Training Apprenticeship Fund to redevelop the west side of the property.
University leaders considered keeping the original structure intact. However, the interior was too deteriorated to renovate, said Dozie Ibeh, assistant vice president of Temple’s Project Delivery Group.
“We had hoped to keep some of the original structure, but due to the condition of the buildings we decided it was best to demolish the original structures and begin construction of a new site,” Ibeh said.
The School Reform Commission closed William Penn in 2010 after the school lost more than half of its population. In 2014, the School District of Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission approved the sale of the vacant property to Temple. At its October 2015 meeting, Temple’s Board of Trustees authorized $22 million for the construction of the new athletics fields and facilities.
Construction activity on the site will be underway between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Weekend work will be between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Traffic patterns on Broad Street should not be affected during the first phase of demolition.