The Templeton Campus Center remodel is the main topic of conversation around campus these days, and understandably so. Student activities are displaced, the only entrance to Fields Dining Hall is now a rickety wooden ramp and the sounds of construction permeate the quiet Portland winter air. The only upshot is the appearance of the nicest portable toilets I have ever seen outside of the Bon. However, even those are a massive eye sore, and I have noticed that because of the construction, they are now a stop on our admissions tours.
“Welcome to Lewis & Clark, where you get to witness a demolished building while standing next to a port-a-potty,” is the message this seems to send.
However, for all the annoyances this project brings, as the LC facilities website puts it, “with any construction project of this magnitude, there will be some growing pains.” Once it is complete, it will truly draw more students to the college, and become a better, more engaging space for current students as well. Although I graduate at the end of this semester and will not get to experience the new and improved student center, it amazes me that a project this large can be completed in under a year.
This is LC’s biggest capital project since Holmes Hall was constructed ten years ago, and it needed to be done.
Templeton was once confusing, dark and not conducive to studying or socializing. The Pioneer Log even ran an article in The Backdoor last semester comparing the building to the labyrinth from Greek mythology. No matter which way you turned, you were hit with multiple walls, signs pointing in all different directions and no clear way out.
The amount of times I heard parents on tours ask students how to get to the bookstore, and the student responding with a shake of their head and the words “It’s too hard to explain, I’ll just take you,” was astounding.
The old Templeton had a courtyard that had six doors and no way to get inside. Many of its doors were locked, one was inside Thayer Conference Room (a chronically underused classroom that mainly seemed to just be in the way) and the others required swiping into one of the computer labs, then walking behind and across people using the computers.
The new Stephanie J. Fowler Student Center will feature its courtyard prominently, requiring anyone who wants to pass from one side to the other to simply walk through it.
I will miss the mailroom, but with any luck we will get new mailboxes that do not require a ten-page owner’s manual to open them. Part of New Student Orientation should not be a fifteen-minute demonstration of how to use elbow grease and spit in just the right way so as to trick your mailbox into opening.
Another huge complaint students had about Templeton was its lack of coherence in terms of the placement of student organizations. Why was the Feminist Student Union near the bookstore while the Black Student Union was over in the corner by the Office of Sustainability? Why was the Asian Student Union located inside the KPH studio? Nothing made sense, and it made it difficult for student organizations and affinity groups to collaborate.
Not to mention the lack of space to do so. So much of Templeton was consumed by the maze of walls that not much space was left to socialize or hold student events. The Fowler Student Center will clump student organizations together to make this ease of collaboration easier and help new members find where they are going.
This last bit should go without saying, but the Trail Room will serve alcohol in the new Fowler Student Center, and while I will not be present nor interested in partaking, that fact alone should be reason enough to stick out one year of displacement. It is out with Templeton, in with Fowler, and I for one am excited to watch LC student life be literally gutted and rebuilt from the inside out.