With its modern interior of concrete, glass and open spaces, the new $92 million Jack C. Massey Center is like no other building on campus.
“This is a nice environment. We’re very pleased and excited about the community,” said David Sneed, director of Growth and Purpose for Students.
GPS is one of several key offices housed in the new Massey Center along with the Office of Admissions, the Office of Student Success and Flourishing and the bookstore. The upper floors include faculty offices, classrooms, study rooms and collaboration spaces.
While many like the sleek design, the interior has downsides in its lack of privacy, lack of soundproofing and confusing dual elevators.
Each office has at least one glass wall facing the hallway, which gives professors and staff little privacy.
“I don’t mind it so much. People stop and say hello, which is kind of nice - it’s a social environment,” said David Harkins, assistant professor of social entrepreneurship.
Kim Powell, program manager for Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education, said she appreciates the community the new building brings.
“I came from Fidelity, and no one came to Fidelity,” Powell said. "So, for me, I love it. I like being around people and the collaboration that can happen when you see people.”
While collaboration and community are pros, Nicole Williams, an instructor in music therapy, said “the downside is distraction.”
“I have had students come in that have expressed they feel less comfortable to talk because even though the rooms are fairly soundproof, if you feel like people are watching you, it's just a different feel.”
Sneed expressed a similar concern for student privacy.
“There are some times when people get emotional talking about their classes, or they’re not doing well in their classes, and so we think we’d like to ask for a little bit of privacy for the students,” Sneed said.
Sneed suggested adding a frosting agent to the glass to blur some windows inside offices and classrooms for privacy.
Some faculty, while personalizing their offices, have added posters or wall hangings on their windows to solve that issue.
Beyond the difficulties that come with distraction and privacy, faculty and staff have appreciated the creative freedom they have with designing and decorating their own workspaces.
“I’ve actually enjoyed the process of kind of making it my own,” said Williams.
This article was written by Bree Fabbie