New public spaces that will improve the quality of life and learning are taking shape, with projects ranging from outdoor rain gardens to hallway “study bars.”
Such upgrades represent progress toward fulfilling goals outlined in the Comprehensive Physical Plan, which calls for the university to build a “learning landscape” that creates opportunities for students, staff, faculty and guests to enjoy their time on campus and exchange ideas.
“We are exploring how to help people interact,” says Kevin Thompson, director of Facilities Planning & Design. “As you move from building to building, from place to place, you interact with the environment. Are there pockets of gathering places so you can have a sandwich, use your laptop and have an informal discussion? Many times, learning takes place in the informal setting.”
Over the summer, workers installed computer stations and furniture in public spaces in Knox Hall and the Natural Sciences Complex, both on the North Campus, and in Diefendorf Hall on the South Campus. These new, casual gathering spots are a hit with students, who used to sit on the floor between classes.