Alpha Center Should Make a Huge Difference Near Temple’s Campus

As Temple University has sprawled in all directions over the last number of years, Diamond Street has held as a northern campus border, for the most part. And just to be clear, we know that a whole bunch of students live north of Diamond, and we’re also aware that a few significant buildings associated with the university are on the blocks beyond Diamond Street. But once you cross Diamond Street, at least off of Broad, the feeling on the street changes from college campus to residential neighborhood pretty quickly. And it’s with an eye toward that residential neighborhood that Temple is planning the Alpha Center at the corner of 13th & Diamond. Currently, this property is a surface parking lot.

View at 13th & Diamond
Looking east on Diamond Street

According to the CDR application for the project, the Alpha Center will rise four stories and will provide a collection of services for the surrounding community over its 95K sqft. Primarily, the building will serve as a preschool for up to 130 children from the area, and also for children of university employees. The building will also house a dental clinic, an after-school STEM lab for older kids, adult education services, psychology and counseling services, and community space. As you might expect, Temple’s College of Education will collaborate with the pre-school, and the Dental School will work with the dental clinic. Here are a couple of renderings, with design work done by Strada.

Project rendering, viewed from N. Park Ave.
Project rendering, viewed from 13th Street

From a city planning perspective, this project is a winner because it replaces a surface parking lot with a useful building. And for a change, we’re seeing a building constructed in this part of town that isn’t getting built for the exclusive benefit of Temple students. But as we mentioned, there’s absolutely an educational component to this building for certain Temple students, which actually creates a tremendous opportunity.

These types of projects are typically funded with public dollars, which means they’re exceedingly tough to build. We don’t know where the funding is coming from for the Alpha Center, but we have think that Temple is footing a sizable chunk of the bill since it’s so intricately tied to the building. This either makes the project possible in the first place or at least speeds up its timeline, which means important services will reach the community more quickly. And as a fringe benefit, future teachers and dentists will get some hands-on training, right on the edge of campus.