students in hard hats at construction site
Temple engineering students inspecting renovations outside Citizens Bank Park.

The Temple chapter of Society of Women Engineers spent some time at the ballpark recently, but not to play baseball. Instead, nine Temple engineering students got some inside baseball on the major renovations happening in and around Citizens Bank Park.

Even before announcing the addition of Bryce Harper, one of the sport's biggest stars, the Phillies pursued substantial changes to the stadium's ground-level. Now, with nearly 300,000 tickets sold in the days following the slugger's signing, safely managing the flow of fans into the stadium has become an even more acute need.

The tour showed firsthand two significant portions of the renovations. Along with dividing the former McFadden's space into Pass and Stow - featuring an open-air beer garden with a bar, Foundry pizza serving brick-oven pizza, and a family-friendly sports pub - as well as an adjacent 120-seat Shake Shack, the park will also feature security upgrades around the perimeter of the stadium.

A number of permanent and removable barricades are being installed around the park to help guard against terrorist attacks like those that happened in Paris and Toronto.

"It's not just civil engineering: they also have mechanical and electrical components," said Melony Breeze, the Temple SWE corporate relations chair and mechanical engineering student who helped to organize the tour with Tom Friese, P.E., the Pennoni Civil/Site Division Manager helping to lead the project.

"There's so much coordination going on and things to work around, particularly with the underground stuff where multiple utilities run into each other," she said. "They showed us an open ditch with conduits for Verizon Fios, water, street lights, even from the old Bell Telephone."

"The Phillies Owner Representative has stated that this is the most complex, simple project we will ever work on," said Mr. Friese, indicating that what looks to be a fairly simple project, placing bollards and security devices around the perimeter of the block, quickly becomes more daunting when coordination with all the utilities and other infrastructure underground is understood. 

"We tried to convey this to the students, who were quite interested and asked very good questions.  We also spoke about the need for close coordination between the engineers and contractors to keep a project like this moving," he said.

For the students, the chance to see engineering in a real-world application was valuable, too.

"It was nice to get out of the classroom," Breeze said. "But you could also tell how passionate everyone working on the project is about their work."

The upgrades will be ready by Opening Day on March 28.