It’s not only buildings that have been affected by construction plans; campus construction has physically divided the campus and impacted everything, from club and event spaces, to the general appearance of the campus itself. According to the discussion in the October Town Hall Meeting that took place on the 10th in the Hyman Forum, we will be getting more functional and useful spaces as Mary Fischer and the Freshman Village take shape. Organized by the Office of Student Engagement (OSE), the Town Hall meeting focused on providing updates and answering student questions relating to the construction of new campus spaces. Associate Director of FMS for Planning, Linda Barone, Senior Associate Director for Events and Conference Schedules, Angela McDonald, and Associate Dean of Students for Community Life, Stacy Cooper Patterson, were all present at the meeting.
To start, Linda Barone explained the current timeline for construction. While construction on campus will not be entirely complete until after 2021, all construction on Mary Fischer and the Freshman Village is expected to be completed by next Fall. Additionally, construction on the Interfaith Center will be beginning at some point within this semester and is also expected to be completed by next fall. Next fall, construction will begin on Stimson and continue until the fall of 2020. While there are no official plans drawn up yet for Stimson, it is possible that it will become upperclassman housing, offering more options for suites and on-campus apartments. There may still be housing in Stimson next year, but again, details regarding Stimson’s future are tentative. Lastly, there will be intermittent construction of various athletics spaces, such as the new tennis courts, and construction on the Science Research Center will begin in Fall of 2019, likely to not be finished until January 2021.
Each new building on campus will have air-conditioning and administration is trying to keep accessibility for all Goucher students in mind. Barone, Cooper Patterson, and McDonald all stressed that the new buildings were planned with student community in mind. The new dining halls in Mary Fischer, for example, were set in the center of campus so that students can more easily access all-you-care-to-eat and grab-and-go options. Additionally, there will be more reservable and free spaces for students to use for club meetings, group projects, events, etc. Sit-down dining rooms on the bottom floor of Mary Fischer will turn into public space during its closed hours, but will also be reservable. Buildings 1B and 1C of the Freshman Village will have plenty of study spaces available. They will also offer reservable kitchens, and building 1C will have a dance studio. When the Passport Cafe at Heubeck is replaced by Mary Fischer dining, the space will become a multi-purpose room again, and also be available to reserve for meetings, events, rehearsals, etc.
At the Town Hall, students asked about the buildings and their accessibility or uses and raised concerns about dividing the campus the way construction has done in the past. Some students expressed how they felt their freshman year was improved by living on multi-class floors and worry that by creating the Freshman Village, freshmen will be disconnected from the rest of the campus. This is a phenomenon that many other upperclassmen have noted. The concern was noted, and Stacy Cooper Patterson mentioned that administration is currently housing some first year mentors on freshman floors to see if having upperclassmen besides RA’s on first year floors is potentially beneficial.
While studying and/or living on a campus with construction is not ideal, it appears that Goucher College will come out the other side a better campus. The worst of Mary Fischer and the Freshman Village’s construction is happening now, as foundations and overall structures of the buildings are being put in place. The worst of the construction should be done by next semester, leaving students to wait for new dining facilities, as well as a more accessible and functional campus.