By Luke Roberts, Staff Writer–
A redesign of Lupton Library has been ongoing for about two years, and still has about two more to go; its completion has the potential to affect many students and student organizations.
The redesigned building will house a new POD market, classrooms and student organizations like the Women’s Center, Multicultural Center and SGA.
Kenny Tyler, director of engineering and planning, said the expenses are expected to be roughly $38 million, and this budget will include renovations for Lupton as well as a separate renovation for the Fine Arts Center. The Lupton redesign is expected to be completed by January 2020.
SGA President Rachel Emond said the need for additional Student Organization space prompted the redesign.
“First, they needed to figure out what to do with Lupton once we opened the new library. It’s a really usable space, and we wanted to make sure that it would become something of extreme value to the student body,” she said. “They decided to go with a better space for student organizations because the division of Student Development saw this as a great way for student organizations to come together and to interact with academic affairs in a new way.”
Emond said putting student organizations in Lupton would likely make them more accessible to students.
Emond said, “Students will have to walk past the Multicultural Center, the Women’s Center, and student organizations in order to get to class and I think that will not only create awareness of their existence and location but it will also help students feel more comfortable wandering into their offices.”
According to Jim Hicks, dean of students, the first floor will house student activities and organizations.
Hicks said, “The first floor is going to largely be student activity space. That’s where the Multicultural Center and the Women’s Center will be. International services will be there, in addition to kind of an open space for organizations to use as work space.”
Tyler said that the relocation will put student organizations in the center of campus, which he hopes will facilitate idea sharing.
Traditional classrooms in addition to Technology Enabled Active Learning classrooms will be implemented throughout the Lupton redesign as well, most of which will be located on the second floor. These TEAL classrooms are very technologically advanced and aim to promote collaborative learning through technology.
“Students can collaborate around a technology component at a table,” Tyler said. “They can use their laptops to dial into whatever the teacher may be teaching on that day. The teacher can be placed anywhere in the room in this configuration, because he or she simply places the information in to everybody at the tables, and they can respond that way. The classrooms are more open to collaboration rather than just the teacher teaching from one central spot in the room or one traditional way of teaching.”
Tyler said that the TEAL format shakes up the norms of traditional teaching.
Tyler said, “It really challenges the teaching method that has been for so long in place, where you have somebody talking to you, where it this case, maybe it’s trying to pull you in and gather you into a conversation where you’re actively doing rather than just listening.”
In addition, all of the testing centers on campus will be migrating into one area at the front of the second floor of the renovated Lupton. Tyler said that the testing rooms will vary in size from a larger room to some smaller, single sized rooms.
Hicks said that the testing centers have been heavily worked on by both the Disability Resources Center (DRC) and Academic Affairs.
Hicks said, “I know that Academic Affairs and DRC have worked with the architects and worked with the designers to design a space [that is] designed to be used as a testing center, so I can only think that that’s going to be an improvement.”
In regard to the transition itself, Emond said it won’t be much of a problem for SGA.
Emond said, “They’re being very intentional about making sure there are going to be meeting spaces that all organizations have access to, and we’ll also still be able to use the Raccoon Mountain Room for Senate Body meetings. It’s definitely going to be a culture change, but ultimately I think it will make SGA more transparent and accessible.”
However, the renovation has the potential to affect parking for students and faculty.
Tyler said that at this time he doesn’t know exactly how parking will be affected by the construction, but he noted the construction equipment will have to be put somewhere in Heritage Plaza.
Tyler said, “Because of where we are having to set the construction crane, we’re somewhat limited as to where we can put that. It’s going to have to go somewhere in the Heritage Plaza area, and it is possible that it might block off portions of Heritage Plaza. As far as the parking goes, at the moment we don’t know how it’s going to affect it.”
Hicks was a little more specific and said that lot 11 could be affected, although, he said nothing has been officially decided yet.
“There is a potential for one of the lots to be blocked off,” he said. “That has to go into the planning, and they’re looking at possible ways to deal with that. Nothing has been decided yet. It will have some impact; it’s a very large project.”
Despite potential inconveniences, Emond thinks this change could liven up campus with its modern redesign.
Emond said, “I think one thing that’s going to be great is just how it will change the look and feel of that part of campus. As much as Lupton holds a special place in my heart (the first semester of my Freshman year was the last semester Lupton Library was open), it is such an eye sore — and this redesign will really open it up and help beautify that part of campus.”