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Campus Changes

07/18/2012

Over the past several years, some dramatic changes have changed the face of the College. Graduates of just five years ago would not recognize MCLA today, according to James Stakenas, vice president of finance and administration.

Students returning to MCLA this fall will find a number of changes have occurred on campus, including progress on our new Center for Science and Innovation, and renovations to the Hoosac Hall residence building.

Once the science building is completed in fall 2013, work to renovate Bowman Hall will begin.

Although the facility primarily will remain a classroom building for study and learning, Bowman also will feature customized spaces to create, meet, observe, share, reflect and relax. Plans call for multiple art labs, as well as computer graphics and student art studio spaces, a robotics lab, an art gallery, a coffee shop, and a number of relaxing spaces for faculty and students.

Most of the LEED-certified building's classrooms will be located on its middle level, just off of the campus quadrangle. Conference rooms and faculty offices also will be found throughout the building.

The mathematics and computer science departments will be downstairs. The lower level will include a robotics lab, as well as software and hardware labs, more classrooms and a faculty center. The coffee shop, too, will be found on this floor.

Plans for Bowman's top floor include the home for the visual arts department, with its specialized labs, classrooms, studio spaces and a gallery display area.  Computer science, too, will have a presence here with a high-end, computer graphics design lab. It will support courses in design, Geography Information Systems (GIS) and digital editing.

The Center for Science and Innovation, access to state resources, and good planning were the biggest catalysts to the changes on campus, Stakenas said.

"The Science Building caused a lot of things to happen," he explained. And, "good management of residence hall resources led to the changes we made to residence halls and the upgrades that we've made to those buildings."

This summer at Hoosac Hall, its lobby area is being converted into bedrooms to accommodate about two dozen more incoming students. The new lobby will be located in the basement, where a new entryway into the building will be located. This new configuration will provide students with better access to the Campus Center.

For the last 12 years, Hoosac Hall's kitchen and serving areas were used for storage. "We're reclaiming all of that space for student programming space so that students will have an actual living room, a place for meetings and a study area," Stakenas said.

Elsewhere on campus, the Office of Admission is settled into its new site in Smith House. Likewise, the President's Office has made the former Admissions building its new home, with Learning Services vacating its location in the Freel Library to move to Eldridge Hall.

Human Resources, too, soon will have a new home as a warehouse the College purchased last year is improved for its use. The Facilities Department office and shops also will be headquartered there. Construction on the renovations, which began this summer, will continue through the fall.  

Over in Mark Hopkins, the building soon will have new classroom furniture. Other interior upgrades, such as new flooring and paint soon will be completed by the end of the summer.

Lastly, new bleachers are being installed this summer on one side of the Campus Center gymnasium. Bleachers for the other side will be completed next summer. And, the athletic training lab recently was relocated into the Campus Center.