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Bustling at Last
The Smith Campus Center bustles -- at last. The living room is filled
with students studying-some working on laptops. Billiard balls clang
over banter in the Kinsmith Coop Fountain. Dance beats thump from the
Doms Lounge below. More than a decade after the project was conceived,
the Smith Campus Center is living up to its name.
Renovation /Smith Campus Center
Set firmly to the north of Marston Quad, on the site where the old
Edmunds Union once stood, the Smith Campus Center opened in 1999 after
four years of planning and two years of construction. Reviews were
mixed. "What became clear was that while we had a beautiful building, it
wasn't as functional as it might have been," says Campus Center Director
Neil Gerard. "It wasn't very effective as a campus center."
After attempting smaller-scale changes, the College decided to undertake
a more dramatic renovation for 2006-07, including the completion of the
lower level. What the College wanted was a true community center, a
gathering place that would serve as an academic and social hub. Since
reopening all of its doors this spring, the revamped campus center has
drawn a positive reaction-and, more importantly, people.
"Students now engage there, they go get their mail, they sit on the
couches, they meet friends, they hang," says Gerard. "That's the
vibrancy we're looking for."
On the ground level, the Coop Fountain was expanded to include a lounge
area complete with billiard tables and pinball machines, and this casual
eatery opens to North Campus in a more visible way. A new "campus living
room" includes the student mailroom, complete with TV, couches and
computer stations. An exhibit gallery was also opened.
To the south, the new sunken patio area and gently sloping lawn lead to
the lower level where the pub-like Doms Lounge provides an upscale
recreational space for a wide variety of events. The Career Development
Office maintains its location on the ground level, while The Writing
Center and Office of Community and Multicultural Programs are located on
the second level. The campus center's landscaped exterior was designed
to welcome visitors from all directions. Even the doors were changed,
increasing the amount of glass to improve visibility. Students flock to
the brightly-lit center into the night, bringing the vaulted halls to
life as they pass through.
"I think it's really great for us because all of our friends come here,"
says Katie Goodwillie '07. "It's definitely more of a gathering place
-Travis Kaya '10