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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Mandel Center for the Humanities completed

Published: August 27, 2010
Section: News

PHOTO by Max Shay/The Hoot

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The new Mandel Center for the Humanities building was completed during the university’s summer break, while the renovation of the former science center space is progressing.

“The [Mandel Center] was completed on schedule this summer, and [the university has] received permission from the City of Waltham to occupy the new building,” according to a joint e-mail from Vice President for Capital Projects Dan Feldman and Mark Collins, in his new expanded role as senior vice president for administration. “Move-in took place in the third week of August, as planned,” they wrote.

The project was a fully-recognized gift to the university, principally by Mort and Barbara Mandel, and the related Mandel Foundation. Other gifted funds allowed for the relocation of the Schusterman Foundation for Israel Studies, which will now have a new home in the center. The humanities building will house classes this semester.

“Classes are scheduled to be held this semester in the four new classrooms,” Feldman and Collins wrote.

The dedication ceremony for the new Mandel Center for the Humanities will be held Oct. 26.

Construction to use the remaining space from where science buildings Friedland and Kalman stood has also progressed throughout the summer and is nearing completion.

“The final element of Phase 1 of the Science Complex Renewal Project includes creating a temporary landscape and hardscape on the site where Friedland and Kalman used to stand,” they wrote in the e-mail. “The concepts considered for this included using part of the space for planted areas and/or using part for outdoor recreation—volleyball courts.”

As was previously reported in The Hoot, a poll was taken on an administration website for whether students would like the space to house either planted gardens, the sand volleyball courts or both.

“The poll made clear that there was strong support for green space … and while there was considerable support for volleyball, too, we also needed to take into account other important requirements and needs articulated by the community,” Feldman and Collins wrote.

These other needs include parking and other mobility concerns that the administration will address with the space. A lack of parking for visitors to the entire science complex, specifically, will need to be dealt with.

“There was a significant shortage of handicap parking and parking for people who may be having a difficult time walking more than a short distance,” Feldman and Collins wrote. “[We will] include an attractive entrance garden adjacent to the stairs, handicap and ‘close-access’ parking, as well as parking reserved for science visitors. Each of these two areas will be clearly marked, and each is framed by additional planted areas.”

The project’s guidelines remain the same as previous updates have noted, including balancing the ad-hoc student vote and the university’s interest in an attractive and conducive campus, but alongside these new realities in terms of money and space.

“The plan for the space in question balances these needs and desires,” the administrators wrote.

Renovation of the Charles River Residence was completed on schedule, however living and dining room furniture was not delivered to the dorms until Tuesday, five days after early arrival students moved in last Friday.