We are very pleased that The Rider News chose to highlight the university’s classroom space issues in its last edition. The quality and availability of our instructional spaces affect our academic environment in important ways. Well-equipped and comfortable classrooms are more conducive to learning, and with an inventory of additional available classroom space, our ability to enrich our academic programming by offering new majors, minors and courses is enhanced.
We would like to offer additional information to the student body that we think will address some concerns raised in your editorial. Students and faculty members alike would like to see more comfortable temperatures in classrooms. The good news is that the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system in the Fine Arts building will be overhauled in stages over the next two years. Of course, the new academic building will have a modern HVAC system, but its construction will also lead to improvements in the HVAC system for Science Hall as well.
Speaking of the new building, it is important to note that it will not be primarily used for the music theater program. Rather, the classrooms in it will be general purpose classrooms available for use by all programs across the university. And while 10 classrooms do not sound like much, when you multiply that by the number of class periods over the day and evening, the number of extra sections we will be able to offer will be 160.
Finally, the editorial noted that some rooms felt crowded. Members of the Task Force had heard that same complaint from various stakeholders and that was one of the reasons we had the fire marshal come in to re-evaluate the room capacities. Staff in Facilities worked very closely with the fire marshal to ensure that classrooms were arranged to ensure “safe seating,” i.e., that there was adequate space in aisles for safe ingress and egress. As noted in the article, many classrooms did lose seats as a result, and those rooms should feel less crowded and more comfortable.
The Classroom Space Task Force welcomes any feedback that you have about our instructional spaces. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Anne Carroll
Dr. Jeff Halpern
Members, Classroom Space Task Force