A Great Room equivalent now exists for the family of students who make the eastside residence halls their home. The dark spaces of the former Currier food service, closed except for one study space for the past 12 years, have been transformed into airy, colorful community rooms, in which students can play pool, use a computer to write a term paper, work out on a treadmill, or watch their fellow students perform comedy sketches.
Just having light and comfortable furniture makes a big difference, says one first-year student who lives in Stanley. It makes you want to come, and it makes you want to stay.
Theres much more to the $3.6 million project than furniture, however. The new spaces include a fitness room with 28 pieces of workout apparatus, a study lounge that opens onto a newly landscaped greenspace, a state-of-the-art stage and video facility, a game room with pinball, pool, and vending machines, and a new Instructional Technology Center with double the number of computers50that existed in the previous facility in Stanley.
Students always have a place to go, says John Josten, assistant director of facilities and operations for Residence Services, who oversaw the project. In the time it was open [between its April 18 opening and the end of the school year in May] students really enjoyed working and playing in the new space.
The project is part of a focus on creating campus neighborhoods, areas where students can play close to where they live. While these facilities were constructed with the students of Daum, Burge, Stanley, and Currier in mind, they are open to all students as well as to faculty and staff.
And while creating a space that brings students together for recreation is important, the central mission of the University academicshasnt taken a back seat.
Our study space used to be very drab and bleak, says a second-year student. Now the environment is inviting. Its bigger, so we dont have to fight for space. In my room, the phone is always ringing or someone is stopping by. And its totally quiet in the study lounge, which makes it easier to concentrate.
Eastside residents also can look forward to a remodel of Burges food service, making it more like the recently completed Hillcrest dining area on the west side of the campus. The food marketplace design will feature a variety of serving stations that offer entrees from macaroni and cheese to tomato-basil fettuccini and Indonesian noodles. Construction will begin in September 2002 and should be complete by August 2004.