Despite innovations, campus renovations appear to fall short



Deanna Passaretti

You don’t even have to be on campus to notice that the University is undergoing a dramatic face lift this semester.  As you drive down Lancaster, your view is split between the iconic buildings and the less than attractive construction site that spans from Campus Corner to Villanova Stadium.  

These alterations continue on the inside of our campus and from all of the University emails and graphics, we are led to believe that they are positive.

I know that updates to our campus are long overdue, and I was eager to see them happen after reading the overview of what was to come:  a Senior housing development, a new parking garage that couldn’t be more needed, conversion of the lecture halls in Garey, a beautiful new reading room in Old Falvey, renovations to the Bartley Exchange, repairs in Mendel, changes to the Office of the Provost suite and other minor renovations.  Unfortunately, some of these renovations fell short and have left students wondering what went wrong. 

As a Communication student, the conversion of the Garey lecture halls was particularly exciting to me. I’m taking three classes in these brand new rooms, two in 102a and one in 101, and as hard as it is to say, I would rather be in a run-down Tolentine room than these new classrooms.  

I walked into Garey 101 for my Theories of Rhetoric class after a brutal 10-minute sprint from Bartley. As one can imagine, I was already a little winded from the August heat. To my despair, upon entering this new room with hope in my eyes, the room was hotter than the temperature outside. Considering that these new classrooms were finished literally the day classes began, I would completely understand if the air conditioning was malfunctioning. I still would’ve been sad about enduring the sauna for a day, but I would’ve understood.  Naturally, professors in these classrooms complained multiple times until changes were made.  These “changes” have done little to nothing to help.  

The temperature in my 101 classroom has improved dramatically, but I can’t say the same for my least favorite classroom at the University: Garey 102a.  It is now Sept. 15th and the heat in this room is still miserable, despite the fact that my two classes in there are at 8a.m. —the coolest part of the day.  And not only does the air barely work, but it is also so loud that I’ve considered getting a hearing aid in order to learn anything in the two classes I endure in this room. It is a constant struggle for my professors to hear comments from students and a constant struggle for me to hear anything my peers on the other side of the room are saying.  Despite my professors claiming to have complained every week about this issue, we still remain deaf, sweaty and hopeless.

If these problems weren’t enough for these new classrooms, there is a bigger issue that has left everyone more puzzled. Why would brand new classrooms in Garey neglect to include outlets?  Communication students use computers in almost every class, yet there is one singular outlet in the entire room of 102a.  One outlet leaves one student with the ability to plug in a laptop and that would only be if they brought an extension cord to run across the room to their computer.  A main focus of the Old Falvey renovation was to include more outlets for students, so why was this completely overlooked in the Garey renovation?  

The renovations continue to fall short in the remodeling of the Cyber Lounge.  Students who frequent the Cyber Lounge, including members of the Open Mic Club who consider the lounge their home, were never asked what they wanted to see changed in the room. Instead, they were surprised to find bleacher-like seating along one side of the room and a small dance floor in the center of it.  

“It seems to take away from the comfy home-like feel of the Cyber Lounge that originally had couches everywhere,” a member of the Open Mic Club said. “We had to move a bunch of furniture to get it to the usual, intimate feel that we typically have at all of our open mics.”  If the renovations were meant to make the Cyber Lounge better for students, the students who frequent the lounge should have been asked what they wanted, instead of being spoken for and forced to adapt.

Despite the issues presented by some of these new renovations, I choose to remain hopeful for the rest of the bigger projects to be finished at the University this year.  I have a hard time believing that the problems in Garey will be solved, but I hope that for the good of the faculty and students these projects start to show improvement.  I also hope that in the future students will have a voice in what they want in the University they know and love, and can reap the benefits that campus-wide renovations should be bringing to them.