New classrooms planned for Schow

November 4, 2015 by Matthew Borin, Executive Editor

The College will add two classrooms to Schow Science Library by next fall.

The classrooms will occupy space currently occupied by library stacks on the south side of Schow, across from Morley Circle. No common study space, computer labs or library services space will be lost when the classrooms are added. Instead, the College will clear the space by moving Schow’s academic journals off the stacks and into its off-site shelving facility and rearranging the stacks. Content from these journals will be scanned and electronically sent to students or faculty upon request. Sawyer Library began using this system when it moved to its new location last year.

“The journals will still be available upon request, but people usually just want individual articles,” Director of the Science Center and Professor of Physics Protik Majumder said. “So moving the location of these journals, and there are something like 45,000 of them, from the back of Schow constitutes a gain of library space.”

Relocating the journals may provide space for improvements beyond the two classrooms.

“By removing all of the bound journals we are now able to add seats and increase the number of assignable carrels for seniors writing theses. We may even have some carrels for seniors who are not writing theses,” said Head of the Science Library Helena Warburg. “This past year we ran out of carrels at 9:20 a.m. on the first day they were assignable. In the floor plan, we will have approximately 20 additional student carrels. There will also be a large glassed-in foyer outside of the classroom with casual seating for students who are waiting for class or who would like to meet casually with a professor following class.”

The addition is motivated by a shortage of class space for courses with higher enrollment. According to Warburg, there are 71 classes with enrollments between 30 and 61 students. One of the new classrooms will hold up to 64 students and the other up to 54, according to the current plan. Majumder estimates that they will each be about 1200 square feet. Both will be registrar-scheduled and therefore open to professors of all departments.

The process is currently in the design phase, and Vice President for Finance and Administration Frederick Puddester said the College is still “gathering ideas about the best size and configuration of the classrooms.” Majumder and Warburg hope to complete the design phase by the end of the month.

“These classes will be flexible, with no permanent furniture. We want them to be able to accommodate all types of classes and anticipate future needs,” Majumder said.

Preparations for the construction are already underway.

“We are currently transferring 500 volumes daily to the library shelving facility,” Warburg said. “Over spring break, all of the books will be shifted in Schow and all of the empty shelving will be removed from the south side of the library. Construction will begin after commencement and will be completed for the first day of classes in the fall of 2016.”

Majumder said the Schow classrooms will help alleviate the shortage of classrooms that will persist while Bronfman is rebuilt.

“We are excited about the prospect of having classrooms within the library, as classroom seating can be used after hours for study. That, along with the additional carrels and casual seating, will preserve Schow Science Library as a heart of the Science Center,” Warburg said.

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