Author: Claudia Chow|Claudia Chow
The inconvenient class times, loud banging noises on the quad, and eyesores on campus all come down to one thing: construction. The construction can be expected to be partially finished in Jan. 2013 when the renovated lower level of the Johnson Student Center (JSC) is expected to be up and running. The concurrent renovation of Johnson Hall, including the construction of the McKinnon Family Center for Global Affairs, is slated for completion in the fall of 2013. These end dates, however, are not final, especially in the case of Johnson Hall.
The area under renovation in the JSC is the former home of the Office of Student Life (OSL), the Office of Community Engagement (OCE), the Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC), and the Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP). Except for the OSL, the offices on the lower level will be completely gutted.
The Student Activities Center (SAC) will be moved out into the lobby of JSC, and additional meeting rooms and lounge spaces will also be added. This $1 million project is being funded by the Rose Hills Foundation, which also payed for the Rose Hills Plaza in front of the bookstore.
The main goal of the JSC reconstruction is to turn it into a one-stop shop for student life, services, and opportunity. With the SAC in the lobby, Director of Student Life Tamara Rice is hoping that the SAC will become an information center.
“One of the things we hear over and over again from students is there is no one place to find out what is going on on campus,” Rice said. “If you want to know what is going on on campus, come to the SAC.”
Across from the JSC, the construction on Johnson Hall will cost $19 million and is funded by a combination of both bond money and private donations. While the outside of Johnson Hall will remain the same, the inside is being completely renovated with new classrooms and a modern auditorium in Johnson 200.
The bottom floor of Johnson Hall will be home to the McKinnon Family Center, while the rest of Johnson will continue the global theme, housing Diplomacy and World Affairs, Politics, all the languages, the Keck Language Lab, and the International Programs Office (IPO). The McKinnon family Center will also feature a two-story entrance hall, a global media lounge, and an interactive media wall.
“There is a lot of hope around the synergies that are going to be created between [all the departments in the McKinnon Center],” Executive Director of IPO Robin Craggs said. “We are all hoping that it will allow us to collaborate together.”
Like other faculty, Craggs has found her displacement to a temporary office to not be so bad.
“I would be lying if I did not say it was disruptive, but the future is going to be so much better,” she said. “It is like a short term pain, long term gain.”
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