By Sarah Cahn
Traditionally, the basements of buildings on college campuses are not seen as centers for studying and student collaboration. However, since the removal of storage from several buildings on Haverford’s campus within the past few years, basements have become hotspots for student life.
Since the renovation of the Dining Center (DC) basement a year and a half ago, the space has provided a clean and quiet, yet social environment in which students can study, hang out with friends, and even eat their meals while completing homework. The basement’s study rooms provide more spaces for students to work together on projects and utilize whiteboards to complete problem sets.
“The D.C. basement provides a productive study space that does not have the intensity of the science library yet still provides the amenities of a functioning workspace,” said Max Elliot ‘22. “The space also has great tables to work with others and people are still talking, so background noise is present. I was able to complete a lot of research there today actually.”
In addition, with the recent removal of storage from several living spaces, the residents of the Haverford College Apartments have received important study spaces that are frequently used. While the basements of the apartments are typically used for socialization of athletic teams and club organizations, the summer 2018 remodeling of the basement of Apartment 30 has provided a great study space for the area. Sarah Svetec ‘19, a resident of Apartment 804, said that she often has to decide whether to walk to a traditional space like the Science Library or stay in her room to complete work, but with the addition of the Apartment 30 space, finding a study space has gotten a little easier.
“It’s a great place for people living in the apartments to be able to study when they can’t focus in their rooms and don’t want to travel all the way to the libraries,” Svetec said. “It has lots of computers to work on as well. While it does not have a lot of seating space, it works well for me.”
Similarly, Will Juhlin ’22, a resident of Apartment 22, finds the Apartment 30 space useful and wishes more spaces like it were created. While he enjoys studying there, he “only goes there when I don’t have the energy to study in the Science Library. It is more convenient for me to stay in the apartments. Apartment 30 is quiet most of the time, and even provides a great space for chair races!”
Juhlin and many other students’ wishes are being answered as several other apartment basements will be converted to new spaces as well. According to an email sent by Tina Le ’19, Officer of Campus Life, the Facilities Fund will be used to renovate both Apartment 22 and Lunt Basement, which is traditionally used as a social space and for Lunt Cafe. HCA 22 will be renovated into a study space with an updated restroom, new lighting, and flooring, while Lunt Basement will receive new lighting, a better stage, and a separate entrance to the cafe. Both spaces are highly anticipated for the 2019 spring semester.
Donald Campbell, Director of Facilities, stated that the college is currently looking at almost all of the apartment to evaluate better space usage in those areas. However, several considerations such as low ceilings, flooding, and other structural difficulties must be either removed, avoided, or not altered at all.
“If you look at the basements of 19 and 50, all of the structural parts have been moved up so the spaces can be used, however this was a very expensive process, almost $20,000 he said. “We do not want to do that in every space, so we need to evaluate and decide what the best functions are in the places like the HCA.”
Exciting new changes will be coming to Haverford’s living spaces, making each building much more accessible for studying and also student-led activities. Campbell added that student needs are the highest considerations of the facilities office. “We work closely with student groups and Michael Elias [director of student engagement and leadership] to facilitate requests and make spaces as useful as possible for student activities.”
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