Temple Losing a Dorm as Peabody Hall Gets Torn Down

We passed through Temple’s campus shortly before the calendar flipped to 2018, and as we were traveling up North Broad Street, some demolition activity caught our eye. For those that went to Temple undergrad, you might recognize this building, located at the northeast corner of Broad & Norris, as Peabody Hall. This is, well, it was, the oldest dorm on Temple’s campus and was originally constructed in 1957 as a dorm for women. Eventually, Peabody became a freshman dorm, and was the lowest priced on-campus living option. As you might imagine from the (relatively) low price, this building had a reputation as a no-frills dorm. Still for some students that lived there, its demolition surely feels like the end of an era.

View from across Broad Street
View from the east

Temple News first reported that Peabody would be torn down last spring, and as a result the dorm wasn’t open to residents starting last semester. Initially, Temple planned to tear down the building at some point while classes were in session, but they changed their tune at some point, opting to demolish the building now, with most students away on break. A more recent Temple News story indicated that the demolition would be finished by the time the students return, so it’s probably a safe bet that there’s much less of the building now than there was when we snapped those photos last week. Then again, this pesky snow might gum up the works a little bit, so maybe the crews will still be working in a couple weeks.

You might think that Temple has big plans for this property, given its size and prominent location. But you’d be mistaken. Per multiple sources, Temple still hasn’t figured out what they’ll be doing with the property after they finish tearing down the building, with options including classroom space, residences, and offices. That’s pretty broad for a university, but at least it rules out the possibility that they’ll be building a new stadium on the site.

Construction across the street

This seems like as good a time as any to update you on the construction of the new Temple library, which is in progress across the street. When we last reported on this project about 18 months ago, it was just a hole in the ground. But you can see there’s been major progress, with many tons of structural steel now in place. The initial timeline for this project had it being completed in the fall of 2018, but you’ll forgive us for being skeptical of the likelihood of that outcome. We’d think a 2019 completion is perhaps more realistic, but we’ve been wrong before when it comes to construction timelines. Given the bold architecture from Snøhetta for this project, we’ll be very excited to see the completed building, whenever that day comes.