By Jen Maldonado
Centennial House has been the home of the Office of Information Technology (OIT) for over 12 years, but within the next few weeks OIT is moving out and renovations will begin to convert the building back into a residence hall.
OIT will be heading across campus to the General Services building to “a space designed specifically for IT services,” according to Carol Kondrach, associate vice president of Information Technology. Centennial House is being transformed into housing that will be specifically for international students involved in the English Language Institute (ELI) program.
“People are growing out of their spaces,” said Mike Reca, associate vice president of Auxiliary Services. “With OIT moving, there will be one-stop shopping in General Services for faculty, staff and students.”
In General Services, OIT will have work stations and teaming areas, as well as an equipment station, reusing equipment that is currently in Centennial House offices. Another goal is for OIT to go as paperless as possible and just keep the new offices “simple and practical,” according to Kondrach.
Kondrach feels this location change provides an opportunity for a more collaborative working environment.
“Right now in Centennial House we’re all on different floors,” she said. “The move to our new office will create extremely improved communication and teamwork. We can’t wait.”
With OIT packing up and making its big move by mid-April, restorations to make Centennial House livable for next year will begin. This includes painting, working on bathrooms and adding a kitchen and lounge, according to Reca.
Centennial House will be “the home away from home” for international students who are part of Rider’s ELI program, which helps prepare students to enter as either undergraduate or graduate students once they meet the English requirements of the university, according to Mary Amato, manager of ELI. The dorm will also feature classrooms as well as the ELI’s offices.
“The international student population is a growing segment of the Rider community,” Amato said. “It makes sense to provide a campus experience and help these students acclimate to American and university culture.”
Although the ELI program is not a residence life program, the dorm will have the same type of staff as the other dorms on campus, including a Resident Director and a Resident Advisor. Centennial House officials will be working with Gee Hall, the building for international students that are part of Rider’s undergraduate population, to create the typical American dorm-life experience according to Cindy Threatt, associate dean for Residential Programs.
“We plan to have conversation tables, language and even food programs as a way to give ELI students a chance to share their culture,” Threatt said. She hopes Centennial House will provide “a nice venue for the students to connect with each other.”
Sophomore Taylor Miller is not an international student, but has many friends who are and feels that having these students on campus serves as a positive addition to Rider’s campus.
“I’ve learned so much about different cultures and have made some great friends,” Miller said. “My horizons have been expanded because of the fact that I hang out with these students, and overall, they’ve really taught me so much.”