Barker construction to add classrooms to residence hall

by Rob Stewart

It’s freezing outside. It’s one of those days when cold is asmell.

A battle rages in dorm rooms across campus. Go to class andfreeze? Skip class, stay inside and bake like a contented potato?It hasn’t been this difficult to leave a warm place sincebirth.

Soon there won’t be any debate. Students can stay in theirpajamas and, more importantly, stay indoors. Class will be heldnearer than ever – in the residence halls.

This will soon become reality for Barker Hall residents. A newbasement classroom will be open for use, along with the completedaddition, in the fall of 2005.

The classroom was added to the residence hall partly due tocurrent trends in higher education.

“One of the big trends in student affairs is to have facultywork closer with staff and with students outside of the typicalclassroom environment,” said Director of Residence Life MandyFox.

Other schools, like Luther College, currently have this kind ofresidence-classroom hybrid.

However, the need for classroom space also helped to motivatethe decision to use the basement as a classroom according to Foxand Associate Dean of Students Stephanie Krauth.

Krauth also cited ease for students and the unique opportunitiesfor faculty to interact with students in a nontraditional classroomenvironment as advantages of the new classroom.

One concern addressed by Krauth was the privacy of Barkerresidents. According to Krauth there will be stairs immediatelyinside the doors leading to the downstairs classroom. Therefore,students will not be required to walk through the actual residencehalls.

Though the idea of a classroom in a Simpson residence hall isnew, students showed little surprise or reservation about beingtaught in Barker Hall.

“A classroom’s a classroom to me,” sophomore Jason Stakersaid.

Some faculty members, like Professor CoryAnne Harrigan, haveslight reservations. Harrigan’s approval of the residence hall as alearning space is conditional.

“I think that there could be some awkwardness in having a havinga private living space being invaded on a regular basis by theacademic portion of our institution but we need classroom spacedesperately,” Harrigan said. “If the classroom in Barker isdesigned with teaching in mind … then yeah, sure, why not?”

The classroom will most likely be used for first year LiberalArts Seminars and introductory classes.