As an English major, I wasn’t alone in my original sentiments about the new Science Center. We definitely were in need of the new facilities, but what about us in the arts? We did not feel that we would be taken care of.
I can say that now, after having classes in the new building for a week, that my opinions have changed. I’m no longer upset about the building and the hype it was getting for several reasons.
Reason 1: Layout
In my four years at North Central, I can safely say that this week was the first time I’ve ever seen so many students out of their rooms, hanging out in a building, socializing and studying. The new Science Center is comparable to spaces at other universities in the United States and abroad.
When I walked into the new science center and explored the gathering spaces, I was immediately reminded of how I felt when I toured Robert Morris University’s downtown Chicago and Orland Park campuses. The space is open and has room for students to eat and study. All classrooms and offices are located away from these spaces to separate the two zones.
We now have facilities that look like other universities and begin to make us feel like we fit in with those larger institutions. History and secondary education major Katie Dickson (’17) noted that the breakout spaces located throughout the new science center reminded her of “what she had when she studied abroad in England.” For those who have studied abroad, they may find that they too relate with Dickson’s sentiments.
Those of us in English or history may also love the variety within the gathering spaces. When you’re reading lots of documents or books for class, you often want a nice chair to sit in instead of choosing to sit in a hard chair at a desk. There are TONS of comfortable chairs in the breakout spaces. I’ve seen students from English, history and other disciplines taking advantage of these spaces as they read for their new classes.
Reason 2: Classroom Set Up
While there may not be any cell service in the building (something I’m sure professors readily enjoy), the various set ups in the classrooms provide different opportunities for professors to structure their lessons.
Within the basement classrooms, there is a conference room where several smaller seminar classes meet. For senior English majors, the conference room provides a wonderful space where we are able to workshop our papers and discuss as a group in order to prepare our capstone portfolios.
There are also other classrooms with round tables for small group work and discussion, and there is even a classroom with small desks that can easily be moved into a circle for a whole class seminar discussion. The ability to change classroom layout to fit the needs of the course is something that we often struggled with when we are in confined spaces such as Goldspohn or LAC classrooms.
The whiteboard space is also so helpful. Most education majors and teachers can tell you that their ideal classroom has at least two full walls of whiteboard space. This week I’ve walked by classes where the professor has writing on all three of the whiteboards in the room: that in itself is indicative of how intense and thought-provoking the content of the course may be. The small board space in other classrooms on campus makes it difficult for professors or students who may be presenting to display the thoughts/content they may need to.
Reason 3: Au Bon Pain
I think sentiments on NCC’s new dining facility are unanimous: it’s pretty freaking delicious! To my knowledge, not once has Au Bon Pain been empty this week. The staff of the new dining facility have been working so hard to keep up with the demands of NCC students and faculty. Our neighbors who live over on Loomis Street have also taken advantage of the new space; several days this week I’ve seen Naperville residents come by to check it out and leave with a large coffee and bag of pastries.
Kaufman pales in comparison to the quality of sandwiches, soups and salads that Au Bon Pain has given us this week. The coffee might actually be better than Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. There also are tables outside the building to eat or work at; the best part is that they’re covered by the roof of the building, so you can work outside or eat even if it’s raining. It also provides an additional place to enjoy the weather if the tables outside BoHo are already taken. I know I’m definitely going to be taking advantage of the convenient mid-campus location of Au Bon Pain throughout my last term at NCC.
It also provides an additional place to enjoy the weather if the tables outside BoHo are already taken. I know I’m definitely going to be taking advantage of the convenient mid-campus location of Au Bon Pain throughout my last term at NCC.
Reason 4: The Hope for the Future of NCC
While these are just introductory feelings about the newScience Center, it gives me so much hope for what is coming down the line. There are plans for Kroehler and Goldspohn renovations; I hope they come out looking just as spiffy as the science center.
I also have hope that President Troy Hammond and the Board of Trustees work to renovate Oesterle Library to turn it into a top-notch research library with room for alumni, current students and the Naperville community to use the facilities to further their education.
Our Academic Support services such as the Writing Center and EDGE are also in need of new spaces with technology to continue to provide outstanding services to our student populations. Just last term, Writing Center tutors provided one-on-one sessions with over 125 students between Weeks 2-10.
These places are also at the heart of North Central and what our college stands for. If we want to continue to be a liberal arts college where we are central, improving all facilities to match the quality of theScience Center should be the vision of President Hammond and the Board of Trustees.