by Nicholas Leahey
The upcoming renovations to Willard and DiLoreto Halls will bring about widespread changes in academic and student life when construction begins next summer, affecting roughly 800 full-time and adjunct professors, and some 10,000 students alike at Central Connecticut.
Among the changes, was most notably the loss of 34 general classrooms between both academic halls, forcing professors and members of the administration to come up with solutions to deal with the loss of classroom space.
“A number of solutions have been proposed,” said Professor Paul Karpuk, a professor of English, and Vice President of Faculty Senate.
Faculty and administration are considering other ways to cope with the anticipated diminish of classroom space, coming up with a series of different methods.
One of the most popular ideas is the relocation of certain classes to the CCSU’s Institute of Technology and Business Development (ITBD) building located on Main St. in downtown New Britain. While separate from the University, it is still considered a part of CCSU, assisting local businesses in a number services including training and development, a conference center, an incubator program as well as an education and innovation center.
The ITBD building’s current hours are listed as 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., making it a plausible solution for evening classes. It is unclear, how students will be able to get to and from the ITBD building, especially for those who do not have their own transportation on campus.
“Bus service is something that has been considered,” said CCSU’s Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Richard Bachoo. “But we’re still looking at that stuff.”
Another possible solution to help cope with the loss of space is to expand the hours of normal class time. While most classes take place between 9:25 a.m. and 2:55 p.m., the idea proposed expanding the number of early morning, afternoon, and evening classes. In effect, it would also keep commuter-students, who make up 80 percent of the population, on campus longer than others.
“One idea is to utilize classrooms at ‘unpopular times,’” said Karpuk.
The proposed solution would also get rid of the University hour, which takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
A third proposal, created by members of the CCSU Faculty Senate’s Online Learning and Implementation Committee, also suggested the idea of raising the online course cap from 20 classes to 40 classes a semester. This would provide more opportunities for students to take classes online, alleviating the need for a classroom.
“In the English department, we tend to offer courses that we also offer on grounds,” said English department Chairman Dr. Stephen Cohen referring to courses offered online versus at school. “That way if they’re not comfortable with an online course, they have that option.”
The proposal was recently postponed until the next Faculty Senate meeting, after some members voiced their concerns over some issues, including the possibility of the change being permanent as oppose to temporary.
During the renovations of both buildings, all offices will be relocated to different parts of campus. Carroll Hall, which was recently taken offline as a residence hall for renovations, will house office space for various departments, including the English and journalism departments. Other departments, will be relocated to other buildings, such as the Information Technology Media Center, which will be moved to the library.
Construction on the $54 million renovation project, which is a part of the Connecticut State University System (CSUS) 2020 investment plan, will begin during the summer of 2016 and take approximately two years to complete.
Numerous changes will come to both halls as a result, including renovated classrooms, renovated offices, as well as updated technology for the classrooms, new windows and new elevators.
Both halls will also be connected on all levels, adding another 30,000 square feet in the form of a grand entrance and an infill, where the parking lot currently sits between DiLoreto and Willard Halls. The building will also possess a rooftop garden.
Upon completion of the project, all former offices, with a few exceptions, will move back into the newly completed academic hall. Additional offices will also move to the new hall, including the Office of Registrar, Financial Aid, the Bursar’s Office, as well as The Ruth Boyea Women’s Center and LGBT Center.
The renovations, with an expected completion date in 2018, will be one of the last projects to be completed as a part of CSUS 2020.