Bartley Hall in need of urgent repairs



Neil MacDonald

Anyone who has walked through Bartley this semester has undoubtedly been upset by the state of disrepair into which the home of VSB has fallen. The main atrium floors show scuff marks, and several of the glass doors leading to hallways are marked with ugly smudges. Several VSB students expressed their dismay that the University would allow such unsightly conditions to exist in a flagship campus building. While I understand that resources are limited, and not every building can sport the attractive aesthetic of Tolentine and John Barry, it is only fair that Bartley receives some tender love and care. 

Let’s start with the main entry. Soaring three stories tall and full of colorful flags, the atrium is a disappointment. On any given day, corporate representatives crowd the entryway, annoying students with gifts and six-figure job offers. Students confirm the constant hawking is very distracting. The Holy Grounds on the ground floor always has a line, and it would be preferable to walk three buildings away to get a coffee like students who call Mendel their home. 

Moving away from the atrium, one walks into the absolute eyesore known as “The Exchange.” Filled with seats, new furniture and multiple TVs, this hub of activity is also a disgrace. Too much open space, movable tables, a dining outlet and access to an outdoor patio do not make up for the terribly neutral paint color or overly-bright lighting. Meanwhile, students on the West side of main campus enjoy funky, 1970s paint jobs and lighting quality akin to kerosene lanterns. At least in buildings such as Mendel and White, no such central study area exists to present such issues. 

The problems with the public spaces are also found in the classrooms. Recently, classrooms have been “renovated” to include TV monitors instead of traditional projectors, glass walls and more of that pesky movable furniture. Gone are the days of sitting in the dark so that the faint projected image of crucial notes can be seen. Instead, the monitors are supposed to “improve the classroom experience.” Here, too, the walls are too neutral, the chairs, too mobile. Students prefer the desks found in Tolentine, especially when they are extra wobbly. 

The actions the University must take are clear. As Villanova celebrates its 175th birthday, it’s time Bartley looked the part, like student-favorites Tolentine and Mendel. The Bartley atrium should be reduced in size immediately and induce a comfortable claustrophobia like the Mendel foyer or Tolentine basement. The Exchange can be much better used as additional storage space for books no one will ever read like the upper floors of Falvey Library. The lighting throughout the building should be much more dim, unreliable and turn off at random like the lighting throughout Tolentine. And, above all, classrooms should be immediately converted to include smaller desks, preferably bolted to the floor like in Mendel or unstable as in White.

I can certainly understand that budgeting in a University can be tight, and other projects sometimes take priority. For example, the tote bags, t-shirts, magnets, sidewalk stickers, gala ice sculpture and horse-drawn carriage rides for the demisemiseptcentennial clearly took financial priority, but it’s time for the University to give Bartley Hall the attention it deserves. 


Neil MacDonald is a senior chemical engineering major from Scranton, Pa. He can be reached at [email protected]