Alumni classrooms renovated over break; more renovations to come

Samantha Jette, Copy Editor

While Saint Anselm College students were home enjoying Winter Break, two Alumni Hall classrooms underwent renovations. The Dean of Students, Dr. Mark Cronin, told the Crier that the renovated classrooms are Alumni 9, located on the third floor, and LL2, located on the lower level.

Dean Cronin said that the future will hold more renovations: “We consider this a pilot. We will do more classrooms.”

The classrooms have been modernized in terms of technology and functionality. For starters, the classic whiteboards have been replaced with a glass board. According to Dean Cronin, these boards are more expensive, but may be worth it because they look contemporary. Because these two rooms are a pilot for the future, the school is eager to see if they can hold up over the semester.

“We want to see if it’s easy to write, erase, and put more material up there,” said Dean Cronin of the glass whiteboards.

Alumni 9 received a new large screen television, which is convenient for professors who choose to show videos to their classes.

“It’s functional for some faculty, but not all faculty. If you’re showing a video it’s great, but if you’re projecting images, sometimes that might not work as well,” added Dean Cronin.

Alumni LL2 now contains a projector for professors who wish to project images for their students. Classroom additions like these will be evaluated over the course of the semester to determine if similar changes should be made to other rooms as well.

The regular classroom desks were also replaced with tables on wheels, which can be pulled together and apart. While the single desks made it difficult to maneuver around a room, the tables create a more open, and accessible space. Dean Cronin added that a number of unnecessary desks were also removed from other classrooms to make it easier to move through the space.  

The classrooms’ orientations were changed as well. While they were originally set up so that the professor stood at the front of the room, facing north, it has now been moved so the professor faces west. This was done to utilize the space of the room more effectively.

Alumni 9 was chosen first as one of the rooms to be renovated because of its layout. While there were a few other rooms on the third floor that could have also met the criteria, Dean Cronin stated that he knew several of the professors teaching in Alumni 9 were open to the renovations, making it the perfect fit.

And, “LL2 was just in bad shape,” he said.

During a tour of campus buildings with a fresh set of eyes a few years ago, Dean Cronin realized that the state of the classrooms “did not fit the pedagogies of what people are doing here. I started here in 1993, and then, classrooms were only used for lectures. In classrooms today, professors have their students do group work, move among their classrooms to see what students are working on, and are working with students.”  

A classroom committee comprised of faculty was formed to discuss the renovation plans going forward. The school also hired a firm to assess the way the buildings and rooms are used, and give options about moving forward.

Dean Cronin added that it cost a couple hundred thousand dollars to renovate the classrooms; “It is a capital investment…We will do this gradually and see what we want to do and how we want to do it.”

There has been a conversation about completely re-doing Poisson Hall according to Dean Cronin: “But that’s a big project.” However, questions have arose about where classes will be held and relocated to if the renovations take longer than one summer break to complete.

As for the timing of the remodeling of Poisson, Dean Cronin said, “If we make the decision, my guess would be summer 2020.”