The new and improved Pacific Hall is coming soon. But just what are they doing behind those fences?
Whether it’s mechanical whirring, repetitive hammering echoing through campus, or the seven foot tall chain-link fence blocking a main path along Trombolley Square (and the fire lane), it is impossible to ignore the construction being done near the University Center at Pacific Hall.
But beyond noise exactly what are they doing?
An anonymous junior states that, “I am under the impression that classrooms and offices are being renovated, but I don’t necessarily know what is actually going on. My first week here I kept thinking that there should be a place where students can take naps besides the dorms. Maybe like a nap room. I think they should build that.” Another junior with her chimed in, saying, “There should be a snack room too.” They had no further comments when asked if a nap room and a snack room could be combined.
An anonymous senior has hopes that “the gallery gets a renovation, or at least gets to have a life after the renovation.” Another student questioned the cement trucks outside the building, saying, “Maybe they are for the pool they are digging in the basement?” A staff member heard a rumor that a “little movie theater” is being built on the second floor.
Not to fear, The Index is on the job!
We turned our investigative journalism powers on, and found out a few details: Construction began after commencement in May—and is expected to continue into next year. There is a set plan to reopen the newly renovated Pacific Hall in the spring. The renovation will include both interior and exterior work on all floors, as well as a seismic upgrade. Some features being executed in the next month are the demolition of old concrete stairs to add new accessible entry ramps, window installation, installation of a rooftop mechanical unit, and other interior tasks like fire sprinkler, drywall, insulation and door frame installation. Jobs that fall under the seismic upgrade, such as concrete floor slab pours, brace wall framing, and anchor installation are expected to be completed before Halloween. And, currently—as everyone who has tried to walk through campus—the building is fenced off from every side and is completely inaccessible to students and faculty.
Classes previously taught in Pacific Hall have moved elsewhere around the campus. Rooms in the library that typically would not be used for class are occupied, as well as the multipurpose room downstairs of the University Center. The university is using anywhere that is available to accommodate for the needs of each specific class.
“Normally, I would have class in a classroom where students can do group work at tables,” explains Jennifer Hardacker, a film and video professor, whose film history and analysis class were shuffled off to Marsh Hall auditorium, which has a different layout than she is used to teaching in. She continues, “I used to teach my film history class in the auditorium, then I accidentally got scheduled in a different class. I realized how much better it was for an interactive class. It’s been this revelation that the classroom really matters.”
Hardacker points out that she has noticed in the new, large auditorium classroom that students are able to hide behind their computers more than they could in a typical classroom. “I find the atmosphere is quite different in a different classroom,” Hardacker admits. But she also recognizes that the renovations will benefit academics like the Media Arts program. “The new computer lab will be a huge bonus,” she exclaims.
Currently, the media arts computer lab is in the basement of Walter Hall and has 15 computers for student use. There is another computer lab in the basement of Marsh Hall that seats 25, although there are some downsides to this lab. The layout is long and narrow, and there is a loud ventilation system, which makes it a challenging space to work in. The new lab will serve 25 to 30 students at a time. — Libby Findling