Construction update

By on May 2, 2012

School of Communications, North Haven campus undergo renovation in summer

While a carefree summer is just around the corner for Quinnipiac students, the university is in the midst of preparing for a busy summer full of construction and renovations.

Buildings across the Mount Carmel and North Haven campuses, such as the Carl Hansen Student Center, School of Communications and the medical school, will continue to be renovated over the summer.

With continual plans on recent renovation, new renovations will begin several years down the line, with further construction to the School of Communications. Dean Lee Kamlet of the School of Communications said the school will take over the space currently occupied by the School of Business. The School of Business is set to move across campus to occupy the School of Law, which is moving to the North Haven campus, possibly as soon as 2014.

On the Mount Carmel campus, the Carl Hansen Student Center is in the last of its three construction phases, according to Assistant Dean and Director of the Student Center Daniel Brown.

While the exact date of completion is still yet to be determined, Brown is excited for this project to be finished.

“I’d say it’s been like a three-to-five-year process that we’ve been working on this thing, so we’re ready to go,” Brown said.

The complete suite will house media organizations, Greek life, general student organizations with a workspace for the 100-plus student organizations, a graphic arts room and six meeting rooms throughout the building, according to Brown. The rest of the open space in the downstairs area will be an open program space called the Piazza, which will be comparable to Rocky Top, with tables, chairs and a fireplace.

The School of Communications’s construction plans are set to begin on May 15, according to Kamlet. Classrooms 253 and 260 will be redesigned and are scheduled to finish before the start of the fall 2012 semester.

“‘The ‘News Room’ was originally designed about 20 years ago for a different set of circumstances,” Kamlet said. “So we’re going to take it down to the bare walls.”

Upon its completion, room 253 will have space for up to 25 students seated in half circular desks, including a teacher’s station at the front of the classroom with printers and a large flat screen TV, Kamlet said.

“What doesn’t work in that room now is that everybody turns away, or they hide sort of in the back of the room,” Kamlet said. “It’s dark in that room too, so it will be brighter and it’ll be more functional.”

The back of the classroom will also have a multimedia lab with a separate entrance to the lab from the hallway. The wall separating the lab from the classroom will be made of opaque glass to avoid any distractions, Kamlet said.

To account for the added space gained in the classroom, two faculty offices are relocating to a space at the back of the building, which is currently a small media lab.

Room 260 is being stripped of its bulky wood built-ins, and is going to be turned into a regular, multifunctional classroom.

“The reason for all of that heavy wood furniture in that room is because the original Mac computers had huge monitors, so they needed a lot of table to support them,” Kamlet said. “Now, they’re much thinner, lighter, and smaller, so we don’t need all that wood to take up all that space.”

Knowing of the space needs on the Mount Carmel campus, Dean Bruce Koeppen of the School of Medicine said that the construction timeline at the North Haven campus is being accelerated.

“We submitted our application for accreditation on April 10, and we will have a three-person site visit July 15 through the 18,” Koeppen said. “At that point, we expect to get what’s called preliminary accreditation, and once that occurs, probably by the second week of October, we can begin accepting applications for the class that will enter in August of 2013.”

Koeppen was hired in November 2010, and shortly after he began working with Centerbrook Architects and Planners to design the building, whose space is dictated by the school’s curriculum.

The university also worked with Centerbrook to develop a series of three-dimensional visual displays of what the space is to look like.

“We had to put this all together to show the accrediting body, to let them know what the space is going to look like,” Koeppen said. “We’ll also use this because when we start recruiting that first class that is going to start in October of this year, since they won’t be able to actually see the space because it will still be under construction.”

The North Haven campus is divided into three buildings. The School of Health Sciences and Nursing, and the graduate components for the School of Education are located in building one. Building two, currently under construction, is the future home of the School of Medicine.

The School of Law will occupy building three, once its current tenant, Anthem Blue Cross and Shield, moves out in September, according to Koeppen.

“We are also building this three-story connector to bring the two buildings together, and this then becomes the main entryway into both buildings,” Koeppen said.

The first floor will house the university’s largest auditorium, with 350 seats. Behind the auditorium is a multipurpose room with tables, a catering kitchen, administration offices and a clinical skills assessment facility.

The second floor will include a student lounge, two lecture halls, each seating 150 students, faculty and student organization offices, 20 seminar rooms and an outside terrace.

Students in the past have gone to Yale University to study human anatomy because Quinnipiac currently does not have facilities to do so. However, the construction plans include building anatomy facilities on the third floor.

The anatomy facilities will include high definition video cameras, a morgue and locker rooms. There will also be a health science library, and gross anatomy labs on the third floor, Koeppen said.

So, while some students prepare for the adjustment of commuting to classes in the fall semester at the North Haven campus, there is no need to worry about missing what they had at the Mount Carmel campus.

“The students will be able to come into this building at 8 in the morning … and they can do everything they need to do right within that building,” Koeppen said. “They don’t need to go anywhere.”

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