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Cooper Hall and Library undergo renovations

While there is extensive construction of new buildings across campus, older ones like Cooper Hall and the Library are benefiting from renovations as well.

The two buildings have been outfitted with new flooring, desks and tables, as well as aesthetic updates to the surrounding landscaping and outdoor seating.

Cooper Hall has also been furnished with fresh paint, new doors and hallway murals. Select classrooms in the building are being converted to multi-leveled “tiered” seating for lecture-oriented classes.

“I think that as you start to look at the kinds of environments that students do well in, you realize that these buildings really do not measure up,” said Eric Eisenberg, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The administration really couldn’t afford not to do something about it.”

These modifications, which began at the beginning of the summer, only extend to the first and second floors of Cooper Hall and the first floor of the Library to avoid interfering with the beginning of the fall semester, he said. However, he said there are plans to update the buildings in their entirety.

“I think in general, (the construction) will all be beneficial and it is a priority,” Eisenberg said. “It is going to be a process, but I have a sense that it won’t be too long before we see more investments.”

Provost Ralph Wilcox said the University hopes to complete all of its renovations before fall 2011.

“I hope that by this time next year, we will have finished Cooper Hall and moved to other outdated buildings on campus,” he said. “The investments from state renovation sources, and also from Education and General (E&G) funds, are going into really enhancing the learning environment.”

Wilcox said the construction budget is tentative because of the amount of renovations occurring across campus, which he believes have garnered a positive response from students.

“This floor is a lot newer and more open and so much cleaner,” said Jessica Letson, a senior majoring in Psychology, of the improvements to the Library. “So it makes the study environment nicer and just easier to be a part of.”

Amanda Parizo, a junior majoring in humanities, also said she sees the difference in Cooper Hall.

“The second floor is less, well, prison-like,” she said. “It is clearly a better place to learn and to focus.”

Eisenberg said he believes future renovations will focus on more walkways, landscaping, painting and lighting, allowing for a general “opening-up” of the campus and alleviation of student traffic.

“President Genshaft says we have spent a billion dollars on construction in the last decade … and you know, that’s pretty good for the economic situation we have been dealing with,” he said. “I think that it just creates a more positive and professional environment, and the students and faculty will both know that somebody cares about them.”