The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham reimagines Woodland campus for Fall 2015

Photo Credit: Indigo Baloch

On Thursday, March 26, students, faculty, and administrators alike met to discuss changing Chatham’s Woodland campus.

The meeting began with an introduction by Chatham’s President Esther Barazzone. Barazzone introduced Charles Craig—the architect heading the project—and started off with a disclaimer, stating the changes have to be, “done on a fast track basis because it’s a fast track job.”

However, Barazzone assured the Chatham Student Government (CSG) members in attendance that, “this plan is focused on our students,” and although they are doing their best to accommodate students’ needs,  “nobody will love every piece of it.”

Once Barazzone had finished, Craig came forward and began explaining the changes soon to come. He opened by agreeing with Barazzone, using a quote from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov:” “If all things were perfect, nothing would happen.”

He then moved forward by listing the criteria Chatham is keeping in mind during construction: long-term viability, function appropriate, cost, and time frame. Next Craig explained the goal amenities Chatham has in mind, and the existing structures that can house them.

Craig began by covering the changes to the Carriage House. Currently the Carriage House holds Student Activities, Student Affairs, the Post Office, and the Bookstore. The plan for next year will empty out the Carriage House so that it will only be used for Student Activities. The structure will then house student lounges, student offices, and spaces for student organizations to meet. For the time being, the second floor will stay the same. However, the plan for the lower level involves entirely knocking down the wall that separates the TV room from the Office of the Dean of Students.

The Post Office will be moved to where the Weathervane used to be. This will be partly due to efficiency. The Weathervane space is near a service drive where mail comes in. This creates a more direct route to the mailroom. Changes to the Post Office involve vending and a seating area where students can sit, wait, and open packages.

The Bookstore will be moved to the basement of Woodland in place of Bikeworks and Bikeworks will be moved back further into the basement. The offices from the Carriage House will be moved to Woodland in available space upstairs. Other changes to Woodland include expanding Café Rachel by knocking out the wall that connects it to the Woodland Art Gallery. Instead of the wall, there will be a glass sliding door. Security to protect art on exhibition is being considered. An elevator will also be added to Woodland for wheelchair access to the Bookstore.

Faculty of the Falk School of Sustainability will be moved to Eden Hall Lodge to activate the program. They will share offices, with two people to an office. Moving into their space in Dilworth is Career Development. However, space on the lower level will be still be reserved for the counseling and psychotherapy department.

Finally, renovations will be made to Anderson. Smaller tables will be implemented to conserve space and accommodate more students, McGrady Café will be used more often, and the PCW Room will be renovated for regular dining.

The floor was then opened to any questions or comments. Senior Eir Rovira started by bringing up the fact that Woodland has a history of flooding problems. Walt Fowler, Vice President of Finance and Administration assured her that the flooding problem is caused by a faulty drain that will be replaced.

Senior Sam Elbaz commented that many student lounges are informal and so the PCW should be kept formal as making it a lounge takes away from student meeting places.

Senior Sarah Jugovic asked after the Athletic and Fitness Center (AFC), wondering if any renovations for the weight room were planned to accommodate the incoming increase in student athletes. Craig explained that at this time, it is not an immediate concern as the facilities should be able to accommodate the female students as well as the 60 prospective male students. However, if more space is needed, they may move out the classrooms in the AFC.

Rovira then asked about the use of the third floor of the library—assuming Career Development is moved to Dilworth. Craig answered that the floor will be used for more study space, seminar rooms, and PACE.

Next Elbaz suggested that Chatham focus on renovating current student lounges first, before making new ones. Fowler admitted it was a good suggestion that would be taken into consideration. Barazzone joined in and explained that the goal is to make many, highlighting a goal of comfortable spaces.

Senior Jenny Schollaert asked about the plans for the Women’s Institute. Fowler assured her that while it will have a temporary home in the Braun Executive Suite, the goal for the future is to give it its own home.

Senior Phoebe Armstrong brought up the PCW Room again by adding that additional furniture in the room could take away from space needed for events like Mocktails.

In line with food, Craig added that they had considered adding a juice bar to the Carriage House. In response, many of the students chimed in that they would much rather have food establishments added to the upper campus. Rovira suggested moving the On-the-Go snack area from Anderson to Woodland. Fowler then brought up that the expanded Bookstore included plans to carry more food items.

Barazzone then asked the students why they would not prefer to use McGrady instead—as it has a full kitchen. Armstrong explained that it was too far from the classrooms for students in a rush. Senior Margery Deane explained that it would be used mostly by athletes and Rovira suggested that students in the Art and Design Center might use it too. Sophomore Megan Cooper put it simply by saying, “Why would you walk past Anderson to get food?”

Armstrong suggested that Bikeworks be moved to the Carriage House to make more room for more food in the Bookstore and Sophomore Tahmina Tursonzadah suggested food trucks on the quad.

The conversation then shifted as Rovira brought up student concerns with broken post office boxes. Fowler answered that Chatham will be purchasing 1,000 new mailboxes. However, when Tursonzadah explained that students are fond of the look, Fowler and Barazzone agreed that they would be preserved somehow.

Rovira then asked if the construction would be sustainable. Fowler replied that sustainable materials such as carpets and lighting would be used, but there was no goal to be LEED certified.

More on the library, Deane expressed concerns with the cramped cubicle computer stations in the library and the lack of a bathroom, and Tursonzadah suggested IT be moved to the library if there will be extra space.

Finally, Elbaz requested a timeline. The Carriage House is set to be cleared out in May and ready by August. Sustainability faculty will be moved to Eden Hall in July and Career Development will be moved into Dilworth by late July. All plans are expected to be completed by the time classes begin in the fall.

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