Templeton Campus Center is set to be renamed the Stephanie J. Fowler Student Center after undergoing major renovations during the upcoming year. The changes were unveiled to students at a Zoom information session on Sept. 30.
The hosts of the information session included Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Robin Holmes-Sullivan, Assistant Dean of Student Engagement and Executive Director of Career Center Rocky Campbell and Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations Andrea Dooley.
Upon completion of the renovation, the building will be named after Fowler, the chair of Lewis & Clark’s board of trustees, in honor of her husband Irving Levin’s generous donation.
The total cost of the renovation is estimated to be around $16.5 million. As of May 2021, the sources are as follows: $6 million from donor gifts and other commitments, $9 million from debt proceeds and $2 million from an additional capital budget spending allowance.
According to Holmes-Sullivan, LC’s retention of freshman students is not as high as a school of its merit should be. A 2019 survey conducted by LC found that while students were content academically, they were not as satisfied with social activity on campus.
The survey also revealed that students want Templeton to have an inviting and accessible atmosphere. Many students have repeatedly expressed their concerns about the lack of accessibility in Templeton, which is a key focus of the renovation. Holmes-Sullivan also cited creating a fun and lively atmosphere, multiple entrances and exits, transparent exteriors, establishing Templeton as the social center on campus and creating better spaces to host events, as primary factors for the renovation.
“(We’re) missing a central place that people could go when they were looking to have fun,” Holmes-Sullivan said.
In August 2019, LC hired a national firm, Brailsford & Dunlavey, to complete a Student Experience Master plan. The purpose of this plan was to answer the question: “How can Student Life facilities maximize the student experience, enhance student satisfaction and sense of belonging and improve retention?”
The recommendations of the plan included centralizing student life spaces and creating an inviting and accessible atmosphere. Some goals for the renovation include creating a main entry, adding outdoor covered spaces, making student spaces visible and improving navigation.
“In front of the Fields Dining Hall… we have the large gable roof that right now is currently a little bit covered by some landscaping and the food cart vehicle which, as Robin mentioned, will be extended over and enhanced and made into covered seating and will be brought out towards the curb,” Campbell said.
The road in front of Templeton will become a walkway reserved for pedestrians and The Pioneer Express Shuttle. Templeton will be extended into the street that runs in front of Odell Hall. Parking by the residence halls in this area will be removed.
The second floor will have a new covered walkway that runs from the bookstore and the Career Center through to the atrium. Additional seating and a fire pit will also be added to the atrium.
The meeting rooms in Templeton will receive a makeover as well. The spaces that are now computer labs will be converted into additional meeting spaces for clubs and student unions. However, the loss of the computer labs will not go unnoticed. Adam Schwarz ’23, a frequent user of the lab, expressed concerns regarding future plans.
“I don’t like that they removed the computer labs and don’t seem to have a solution as to what they will do about having computers and printers,” Schwarz said.
In order to make Templeton more inviting and visually active, most meeting rooms will be visible from the outside. However, some meeting rooms will be left as private spaces, which may cause competition. This has raised concerns among student organizations that wish to protect the privacy of their members.
The Trail Room will see a major renovation, with the addition of a bar. In the mornings, the bar will serve coffee and other drinks while in the evening it will offer alcohol to students and staff of legal drinking age. This decision was driven by a desire to make the Trail Room more inviting to both students and staff, potentially attracting graduate and law students to the undergraduate campus. The Trail Room will be closed in Spring 2022, temporarily leaving Fields Dining Hall as the only dining facility in Templeton.
After the renovation, students will no longer have their own mailbox. Instead, there will be a single station with a machine where students will enter their student ID and receive their mail.
There are many concerns about how student life will change while the construction is underway. One concern brought up during the meeting is where students will get their mail during construction. According to Dooley, the mailroom will be temporarily moving to the basement of McAfee. The permanent home of the mailroom will remain as is.
Students have also pointed out that by making Templeton open and bright, it may cause sensory overload issues for neurodivergent students. This concern was brought up in the meeting and the solutions offered were carpet and lighting fixtures being selected with consideration to the issue.
Construction is set to begin in December 2021 and is scheduled to end before the Fall 2022 semester.