THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS VOLUME XVIII NUMBER 1 Fall 2002
  
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Building a Better Keene State - Fall 2002

Building a Better Keene State
Many of the mortarboards on campus these days are real ones

It's been a year (well, longer) of beeping backhoes and slamming pile drivers, as the campus realizes the next stages in its master plan. From a skylit reading area in the renovated Mason Library to an elevator in Morrison Hall and a new boiler in the heating plant, the College is making major home improvements. And the biggest is yet to come. Not long after the last dump truck rumbles off the current construction sites, ground will break on the largest capital project in the College's history – a new Science Center, scheduled to begin construction in April.



Marion Wood Reading Area

Mason Library East Wing
For all its carpeted hush, the library is the Grand Central Station of learning. Librarians conduct about 250 course-integrated instructional sessions a year; students push every circuit board to its limit in the media room; and conferences, seminars, and student groups working on presentations are always on the docket. The overhaul of the East Wing will, among other things, expand the media room and hands-on classroom, gather the special collections in one place, add a conference room, and provide more chairs, for simply sitting and reading.

Center for Holocaust StudiesThe wood and glass door of the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies will open onto an 800-square-foot room designed to maximize its utility for learning. Set flush in the ceiling will be a projection system and screen that can be lowered by turning on a switch. Windows all around will light the room for exploring the Center's remarkable collection.

With 2,050 square feet of Persian-carpeted space suffused with the natural light of 10 floor-to-ceiling windows, the renovated Marion Wood Reading Area will be "a public focal point," said Rick Bushway, project manager for MacMillin Construction. Seating will be deep, wide armchairs. One wall will be cherry and ash. Part of the renovation: baring the full-height granite columns between the windows that had been walled up when the library was built in the 1960s.



Basketball courts in the new Recreation Center

The Recreation Center
On the first day of fall semester 2002, a thousand students poured into their new 96,000-square-foot Recreation Center, a mecca of glass walls and natural light that houses fitness equipment; an elevated jogging track; courts for hoops, soccer, and other sports; an aerobics studio with 12' windows; and other rooms, all designed with a stylish, energizing openness. The Rec Center encompasses the court, pool, and classrooms of Spaulding Gym, but when you walk through the 14' glass doors, the feel is of one spacious building.

Indoor TrackCircling above the courts is a track made of "pulastic" – a goop spread in thin layers over plywood flooring. Rules of the road: Run clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on what day it is (so the track wears evenly). Walkers in the inside lane, joggers in the middle, runners on the outside. Ten laps equal a mile. Does it seem to take forever? "It's kind of long, but it helps that we all go together," says Meghan Clanin '05, shown here jogging with "gym mates" Ashley Nest '05 (left) and Christina Schepisi '05 (back).



Pondside II Residence Hall

Pondside Apartments
On this waterfront property, the front doors open to Brickyard Pond, wildflowers grow in the wetlands out back, and the Ashuelot River lazes through the nearby trees.

One hundred twenty students, mostly seniors and juniors, are the keepers of the electronic keys to these doors. Roof: lead-coated copper. Walkway: red-stained concrete. Slabs of concrete are hidden between floors to cut down on noise.

Five roughly barn-shaped buildings each sit on 30 steel piles driven 20 to 80 feet underground. In each building: six apartments with four 10' x 10' single-occupancy bedrooms. Landscaping features include: low-walled brick terraces, a turtle-crossing dip in the sidewalk. Overall feel: quality, not quantity.



Drawing of the Science Center

The Science Center
Since it was built in 1968, the Science Center has confused people who enter the main door off Appian Way and can't find the first floor. And that's the least of its shortcomings – you can eventually find your way around, but you can't move a bucket catching drops from a leaking roof, escape the fumes permeating a lab with inadequate ventilation, or feel inspired by a dark, cavernous lecture hall.

All that will seem like the Stone Age after the coming two-year overhaul of the building and a 30,000-square-feet addition. The open south side will be closed with a new wing. Inside the square, an open courtyard will feature groundwater and seismic monitors, plant and geology exhibits, seating, and landscaping. Classrooms and labs will be designed for more hands-on science learning. New student-project rooms will be added. The building will be more unified to enhance the interdisciplinary nature of today's research. Ventilation and storage will get desperately needed upgrades. The entrance will be more natural, with a blue slate floor and wood ceiling. Along Appian Way, an expanse of immense windows will allow students working in labs to see and be seen.

The new space will allow faculty and students to build on their recent successes - including five National Science Foundation grants – and initiatives – including the new major for teachers in general science. "You'd be surprised at what goes on here," said Gordon Leversee, dean of sciences. It's time for people to see all the science being done at Keene State, he believes. "We're giving the sciences a presence on campus."

Deborah Klenotic is assistant editor of  Keene State Today.