Over the span of 50 years, a chair has seen a lot, and the ones in Haley Center can attest to that.
For five classes a day, five days a week, 36 weeks a year for 50 years, the chairs in Haley have been sat in countless times.
Along with the help of the Student Government Association, Wiebke Kuhn, associate director of the Biggio Center, is spearheading a potentially $500,000 project to replace many of the chairs.
A large portion of the chairs haven’t been replaced until this point because the classrooms in Haley Center do not belong to a specific school or college.
The Office of the Provost also had not had a dedicated person in charge of classroom spaces across campus until Kuhn took the position of learning spaces and faculty development coordinator in 2017.
Although there are other buildings that could benefit from refurbishing, Kuhn said focusing on Haley for the time being will make a large impact on campus.
“The rooms in Haley [have] the largest number [of chairs] and will impact the largest number of students,” Kuhn said.
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SGA Director of Facilities Projects Ginny Anne Pinson said Haley Center is already a building that a lot of students have trouble with. Coupled with the oldness of the chairs, that makes the environment in the classroom very negative, she added.
A replacement of the chairs is an important first step in making a positive impact on the building, Kuhn said, especially as this year is its 50th anniversary.
Pending the approval of Kuhn’s proposal, renovations could begin as soon as the summer of 2020.
However, not all of the chairs will be replaced in Haley. There have been some small, periodical replacements, such as when the first Engaged Active Learning Spaces classroom on campus was implemented in Haley in 2013.
Kuhn’s proposal would include the renovation of 47 classrooms worth of chairs, a little over half of the total classrooms in Haley. This would include approximately 1,600 chairs, which would cost about $500,000, according to Kuhn and Pinson.
Kuhn and Pinson have also been spearheading a project encompassing the seating of the estimated $83 million Academic Classroom and Laboratory Complex. Located near the Greenspace, the 151,000 square-foot building is projected to be finished in summer 2021 and will contain the second-largest amount of instructional classrooms and laboratories on campus — second only to Haley.
Three different chairs are being considered for use in the ACLC once it’s finished.
The decision on which chair will be chosen is solely based on student feedback.
The chairs differ in size, comfort and desk space, and all three were on display in the Learning Center alongside a QR code.
That QR code takes students to a survey where they can vote on the different aspects of the chair.
As soon as all the data has been compiled, the winning chair will be chosen to be implemented in the ACLC upon its completion.
For Pinson, this project has been more important than a project regarding seats would appear.
“It’s one of the most important projects I’ve been working on because it gives students so much voice to choose what they want,” she said.
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