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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Admissions building to be demolished next year

Published: October 5, 2007
Section: News

In early July 2008, Capital Projects will begin construction on a new Admissions building. Rather than being renovated, the building will be completely torn down and a new one will be built in its place.

President Reinharz has been in conversation with Carl Shapiro and the Shapiro Foundation about renovating the current structure, specifically the Presentation room at the bottom of Admissions, explained Jean Eddy, Senior Vice President of the Office of Students and Enrollment.

According to Eddy, these conversations between Reinharz and Shapiro led to a discussion on what the University really envisioned in an Admissions building. We realized that what we really wanted was a welcome center…a place that showcased Brandeis at its very best for when people first arrive on campus.

The project has evolved since then, and the new Admissions building is expected to include new interview rooms, as well as space where student work can be displayed, staff can serve coffee and snacks, and prospective students can chat about Brandeis and purchase Brandeis sweatshirts and other merchandise. Dan Feldman, Vice President of Capital Projects, expressed that such improvements would not have fit in the current building, even with renovation.

However, with the recent controversies regarding construction noise for the new Ridgewood residence halls, this project may bring further disruption to the residents of Ziv and Village Quad. Several upperclassmen have already voiced their complaints at student forums, and a petition to push back construction hours was started on Facebook.

Peter French, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, admitted that the project would bring more noise. Its going to be disruptive. The first four to six weeks will have the worst noise, French said. Feldman, however, insisted that the situation would improve. The noisiest construction tends to only be for a limited period of time, and its sometimes hard for people to see past that. Once that ends, well move on to quieter activities. You also have to remember that this is just one building…so in that sense there will be less disruption.

Whereas construction for Ridgewood is scheduled to finish in spring of 2009, construction for Admissions will not be completed until summer 2009. Student Union President Shreeya Sinha 09 expressed that, I think students will wish they had been part of the planning process, especially residents of South Campus who have already been dealing with construction, and its important for students to voice their concerns of having two buildings constructed at the same time.

Maurice Goldstein 09, who lives in the Village, agreed that the situation would upset students. I am sure there will be complaints from students so long as the construction takes place early in the morning like it does now, said Goldstein. He continued, it is not as terrible as it could be because the Village limits a lot of sound, at least where I am, but the construction cant be ignored.

Lisa Hamilton '10 said, I do feel like they should tell the students about construction that will be happening since it can have direct effects on daily life….although construction may be annoying to some students it is necessary to make the campus look better in the long run. One thing that the school might want to do is focus on doing construction during the summer more than during the semester.

Both the Student Union and Capital Projects expressed their commitment to addressing student concerns. Sinha said that after the Union elections this Fall, we now have Ziv and Village Quad Senators, so there are people in Union seeking student voices, which would open up more dialogues and forums so students can voice their opinions.

Ziv Quad Senator Justin Sulsky '09, however, did not know about the construction. He added that current negotiations with Capital Projects in pushing loud construction later were tentative;

while several weeks ago, it had been decided that loud noise would be pushed back until 8 a.m., two weeks ago, workers began jackhammering at 7:30 a.m. Sulsky said “Brandeis students…know that projects need to move forward for future Brandeis students.”

Feldman agreed saying, provided a number of good suggestions, and we have been working with the Offices of Residence Life and Student Life to implement many of them.

However, major changes to construction hours seem unlikely. Feldman went on to say that while they are taking student concerns into account, we also have a very strong commitment to finishing the project in time for those who will be expecting to move in on time. We are trying to balance the two, but a certain amount of disruption is, Im afraid, inevitable.

As for the decision to tear down rather than renovate the building, the hope is that the new structure will exhibit the best aspects of the University. Sinha said just like renovation of the ICC that affirms the Universitys belief in multiculturalism and support of diversity, the Admissions building project further strengthens the Universitys beliefs and attracts the best students to Brandeis, instilling the values that the University holds itself to.

Eddy added. families are talking about how exciting it is that the University is making these new investments, she said. These are all signs that Brandeis is really on the move. Its really all about whats exciting now.