Anna Delph ’16 spends 20-plus hours each week in the basement of Calvin’s Commons Annex as editor of Calvin’s student newspaper the Chimes. She is in a prime position to speak to the needs the Calvin Crossing (working title) would meet for the newspaper staff, as well as for student life and academics.
Delph said the Chimes’ main need is for more visibility and foot traffic, a need the Calvin Crossing plan meets with its open floor plan and plenty of windows.
“We would be much more able to function if we were in a space where people were walking by,” she said. “We would know more about what’s going on and be a better reflection of that.”
She said the Chimes staff will welcome the Calvin Crossing’s meeting rooms for interviews and food services space for late-night layout sessions when coffee and snacks are a must.
Another need the Crossing would meet is as a gathering place for the student body. Delph called it “a one-stop shop.”
“It would be a better place for academic enrichment as well as for social things.”
When chemistry and biochemistry professor Herb Fynewever thinks of the Science Building and DeVries Hall classrooms, he thinks first of their need for more flexibility.
“Currently, a lot of the rooms that I teach in have fixed desks bolted to the floor all facing forward,” he said. “It’s really set up with the idea in mind that there’s one person presenting, and everyone else is passively listening.”
This setup runs counter to current research on the most effective teaching methods, Fynewever said, which include a mixture of lecture and group work, with much more interaction than his classrooms were designed to allow.
Fynewever welcomes the plan for comprehensive renovations. It will allow for flexible spaces, technology integration and student-centered learning.
“Student learning is our main goal,” he said. “And if the classroom is making barriers for the professors and the students to engage in innovative teaching techniques, then classroom renovations are a good investment in the near term to make our teaching more effective.”
According to executive chef Ian Ramirez, dining services is like the face of the campus. And a walk-through of Calvin’s Commons Dining Hall shows one thing: the face could use a facelift.
“Dining is a huge part of what potential students and current students look for,” Ramirez said. “I would say it’s second to education. The kids will perform better if they’re eating better and are offered better options.”
Those better options come from behind the scenes, in the kitchen. And the kitchen’s current biggest need is a redesign of the coolers. “We’re using every single inch of space,” Ramirez said. He envisions knocking out the walls between the five separate coolers and making one big cooler with room to maneuver.
Other needs include new food steamers, more accessible dry storage space, a freight elevator, new freezers and more dining space.
“I think if you were to walk through and look at our current facilities, it paints a pretty clear picture that it needs updating and renovation,” Ramirez said. “But yet you see so much potential in what it could be.”