TEMPLE’S CAMPUS STADIUM: STILL ON DRAWING BOARD, BUT BARELY

By Mary Cunningham

The movement to build a football stadium on Temple’s North Philly campus, which seemed to have big momentum last year as the Owls ran up their best record in decades, now seems to be:

Just sitting there — sort of the way Temple’s 2016 team looked last Friday night in losing to Army 28-13 at the Linc.

Temple’s board of trustees is moving forward with its plans, though it’s unclear if or when that might happen — or what impact a major shakeup in university leadership could have on the project.

The board has approved spending $1.25 million on a feasibility study, up from the original $250,000 cost. The additional funds, approved by the board in July, will be used to address traffic and parking.

“That’s in response to concerns that came up from conversations that we’ve been having with residents about the stadium as part of the broader process,” said university spokesman Ray Betzner.

The study is reportedly slated to wrap up by the end of summer, but, officially, there’s no deadline. Ditto for breaking ground on a stadium.

Temple has a lease with the Eagles to use Lincoln Financial Field through 2019. The school pays more than a $1 million a year, said board chairman Patrick O’Connor

Under that agreement, Temple doesn’t profit from parking or concessions. It would if a new stadium were built.

“We believe, all in, it will be less expensive than what we pay at the Linc on a yearly basis,” said O’Connor in an interview last October.

Temple wants to build a stadium on a university-owed lot behind the Liacouras Center on Broad Street. It could cost up to $130 million and would be covered by public and private dollars, as well as loans.

A spokesman for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said last fall that the administration has made “no decisions about higher education capital projects.” That hasn’t changed.

The same can’t be said for Temple’s leadership structure.

In late July, Neil Theobald resigned the presidency just before the board was expected to vote him out of office. Theobald was a big proponent of the stadium.

A month earlier, the school cut ties with its provost the same day it acknowledged a costly problem with its financial aid budget.

Whether there’s community support for the project — a critical component for city politicians such as Mayor Jim Kenney and City Council President Darrell Clarke — remains to be seen.

Anna Barnett, a senior at Temple and founding member of The Stadium Stompers group opposing construction, said her coalition of students, professors and residents would continue to fight what she called a “vanity project.”

“It just doesn’t make sense to put a stadium in a residential area,” said Barnett. “We can already use the Linc. It’s already really congested. There’s so much traffic.”

About admin

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply