Welcoming Spaces

Excerpted with permission from an article titled “Spaces That Are Welcome to Experimentation,” by Jacquelyn Bengfort in EdTech: Focus on Higher Education, Fall 2016. See the complete article at edtechmag.com/higher/Norwich.

Norwich reopened its dramatically renovated Kreitzberg Library in August 2015. According to Chief Administrative Officer David Magida, who oversees facility operations, the university wanted to meet students’ needs for group study spaces, while maintaining a traditional library atmosphere that included plenty of quiet space for students who chose to work alone.

“No matter what your preference might be for learning, I feel strongly that we can accommodate it in the library,” Magida says.

The Kreitzberg Library’s sunny mezzanine now features rows of public computers where students can work side by side on collaborative projects. The Kreitzberg Library offers a wide variety of spaces conducive to group and individual study, and instruction. (Photo by Mark Collier.)

The Kreitzberg Library’s sunny mezzanine now features rows of public computers where students can work side by side on collaborative projects. The Kreitzberg Library offers a wide variety of spaces conducive to group and individual study, and instruction. (Photo by Mark Collier.)

Eleven group study rooms have shared monitors that accept input from a variety of devices, along with movable furniture that lets students settle in and get comfortable for long study sessions. The renovation also created two additional classrooms that enhance the library’s technology offerings.
“Those two rooms are a proving ground for new technologies we want to evaluate,” says Magida.

The South Instruction Room includes an instructor station equipped with a digital presentation system and a high-definition Wacom annotation monitor. Seven student stations each have a 65-inch Sharp AQUOS LED television. Projection and audio equipment (including an NEC PA722X projector, a Draper Premier motorized screen, and Shure microphones) ensure images and sounds are crystal clear.

The North Instruction Room houses a second NEC PA722X projector, a Draper Premier motorized screen, and an audio suite.

Security is priority at the renovated library as well. Kensington locks, Chief manufacturing mounts and stands, racks from Middle Atlantic Products, and an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) from APC keep equipment organized and protected. Devices at the library are supported by improvements to the wireless network, which included upgrading to Cisco 802.11ac Wave 1 wireless access points and tripling the number of APs throughout the library.

Best of all, anytime that an instructor has not booked the rooms, students are welcome to reserve either space. “We didn’t put in all this technology and all this new furniture and spend all of these millions on a renovation just to lock a door,” says Magida. “We’re happy to see them using all of this.”

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