News | Sep 02, 2020 | Christine Furey
Arora Helps Provide COVID-Ready Classrooms for Temple University’s Fall 2020 Semester
In June of 2020, Temple University made the decision to allow the return of students to on-site learning for the Fall 2020 semester on their main campus. Due to federal, state, and local responses to the novel COVID-19 and the need to swiftly implement physical distancing before students arrived back to campus, Temple University discovered that they were faced with a lack of proper social distancing, with minimal time available to correct this absence.
Their recently decommissioned 1960’s era Paley Hall library building was available but required the conversion from an open floor plan (former book stacks and open study areas) to a classroom space. Based upon Arora Engineers, Inc.’s (Arora) established history of rapid project turnaround, Arora was engaged to assist with the renovation of the 2nd and 3rd floors to provide ten (10) new classrooms and a gender-neutral restroom per floor. Temple University fast-tracked this project which was taken from survey/assessment to permit drawings in two weeks, necessary to allow construction in the short timeframe.
Arora provided Electrical, Fire/Life Safety, and Mechanical and Plumbing engineering design services to support the conversion to temporary classrooms. These spaces will provide added capacity to facilitate teaching and learning with 6’ social distancing separation as the school navigates educating students amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The project area was approximately 96,000 SF total on the 2nd and 3rd floor of Paley and a subsequent 48,000 SF on the ground floor. Renovations included new partitions to create new social distancing classrooms and new single use gender-neutral bathrooms. One challenge overcame was modifying the obsolescent 1960’s vintage mechanical and electrical systems to conform to current codes and provide suitable service to the spaces and their occupants.
Upon successful design completion and contractor bidding of the 1st phase (2nd & 3rd floors), Arora was subsequently engaged to similarly assist in renovating the ground floor. Both phases were successfully completed and open to returning students on time for the start of fall classes on August 24, 2020.