Students returning to Boston University cannot ignore the ongoing changes to campus. The completed New Balance Field on West Campus and the School of Law and General Classroom Building — both of which are still covered by scaffolding — are just a handful of examples. However, students may not have recognized other areas of growth on campus, including some lesser-known renovations in both academic and residential spaces.
The luxurious School of Management building had some renovations to accommodate its growing student body. The African Studies Library received new lighting due to a survey about renovations the space required. The new Kilachand Hall — formerly Shelton Hall — received modern touches as it became repurposed from a residence with a dining hall to an all-inclusive home for the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College with offices, classrooms and students living in the upstairs dormitories.
An even better School of Management
“SMG is the golden star of this campus,” said Erwin Wang, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore with an SMG minor. “Compared to CAS and other buildings on this campus, they definitely seem to pay more attention to this building.”
Though SMG is arguably already one of the better-designed buildings on campus, it has received even more attention this summer with the renovation of its Pardee Management Library, the redesign of classrooms on the fourth floor and technology upgrades in its lecture halls.
“The renovations had been in the works for a little while now because we had been feeling upwards pressure on enrollment for quite some time,” said SMG Assistant Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Student Learning Steven Davidson.
With the increasing popularity of the school, about seven or eight years ago officials decided that the building could no longer accommodate all of its students, Davidson said.
“The Executive MBA program was ranked number one in New England and 19th nationally by The Economist, and Bloomberg ranked the undergraduate program 23rd overall,” he said. “We have been undertaking a lot of innovative efforts to allow our programs to continue to grow and to meet the needs of our students.”
Students agree that the appearance of the building is an important aspect in maintaining — and boosting — the reputation of the college.
“The rankings keep going up and they need to keep the school building presentable,” Wang said.
The building itself is important since SMG students spend so much of their time in classes and taking part in group projects, said Natacha Garcia, an SMG freshman.
“The school building is very important for students who are looking at schools,” she said. “It’s also a very dynamic building since there is a Starbucks, break out rooms, a library and classrooms all in one building.”
New comfortable seating replaced Pardee’s older furniture. Some walls were painted yellow, giving the place a more cheerful and positive glow. The general area was also redesigned to allow for more individual consulting opportunities with librarians.
Amy Patel, a Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences junior, said she has always studied at Pardee and will continue to do so after the renovations.
“It’s not as boring as it used to be,” Patel said. “It’s just a brighter and happier environment because of the colors and it’s comfier.”
Davidson said with the school’s popularity and population soaring, SMG will continue to grow over the next few years by seeking additional funding and continuing to upgrade its facilities.
Wish granted for African Studies Library
Not many people venture to the sixth floor of Mugar Memorial Library, but with new furniture and brightly lit rooms, students have begun to swarm in to sneak a peek at the newly renovated African Studies Library.
Beth Restrick, head of the African Studies library — which is considered one of the top African studies libraries in the nation — said she was elated to be part of the renovation plans.
Restrick said surveys were sent to faculty members, graduate students and undergraduate students over the past three years to evaluate the most necessary renovations on campus.
“We have been asking for renovations and improvements for a while,” Restrick said. “But oftentimes, the budget is a bit tight and there are more pressing needs from other libraries.”
Restrick said this library was renovated at a low cost, since most of the furniture was recycled from the Pardee Management Library. Even though the materials were reused, library funds were also drawn from to provide more electrical outlets and to repaint the walls.
Derrick Muwina, a School of Theology graduate student, began working at the library prior to the new renovations. He said he and his students have noticed and enjoyed the library’s new look.
“We’re seeing a heavier traffic of students coming to use the space,” Muwina said. “For me and a number of my colleagues, we felt it’s much better than before.”
Restrick said students have been asking if the place is new, which shows great feedback that the library has transformed. The library will still undergo more construction during the year, including new blinds to block out the morning sun’s glare. She said she hopes to receive more feedback during the next survey in order to further upgrade the library and expand its collection.
From Shelton Hall to Kilachand Hall
Students from the Kilachand Honors College have moved from The Towers to the renovated Kilachand Hall, formerly known as Shelton Hall. The dining hall area has been replaced by a spacious study lounge, which boasts a mock fireplace. This is the first phase of renovations for the residence and the second phase will start in the summer of 2014.
Erica Wivagg, a CAS sophomore in KHC, said she enjoys the brightly lit study room, which provides a better studying environment than Towers, where she lived last year.
“They put really great lighting and furniture in there and transformed it into a shabby dining hall into a really nice place to work,” Wivagg said.
One major difference between Towers and Kilachand Hall is that the latter has a communal kitchen open to students. However, since the kitchen is only open from 7 p.m. until midnight, the hours are not ideal for most students’ lifestyles.
“It’s disappointing that I can’t use it in the middle of the day because that’s when I’ll be cooking,” Wivagg said.
Even with the new modern twists to Kilachand Hall, many students said they were not satisfied with the renovations.
Lex Staskus, a College of Engineering sophomore, said she was “really frustrated” since her room size was similar to the one she had at Towers the previous year.
“The triples are large enough to fit four people and still have tons of space, but our double is the size of the room in Towers or smaller, it’s ridiculous,” Staskus said.
Staskus also said meeting people was a challenge at the new residence. Unlike Kilachand Hall, Towers had lounges on each floor, which provided students with more mingling opportunities. While Kilachand Hall does have study lounges on the ground floor and ninth floor, Staskus said they are not ideal places to chat.
However, despite students’ qualms over the new renovations — especially those at Kilachand Hall — there has been a generally positive reaction among students on campus.