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After a renovation process that lasted nearly two years, the Schindler Education Center re-opened at the beginning of the semester. The building has many new features that both faculty and students can take advantage of.
Now that the building is open, education majors can not only have most of their classes in one space, but also have a comfortable place to study, enjoy a meal and meet up with other people.
“I like the changes,” said Hunter Flesch, NISG president and elementary and middle level education major. “Everything is a lot more fresh and clean. There is a lot more seating, which is really nice. It is a place where people actually want to be, so I see people I know all the time because they are actually sitting in here and not somewhere else more comfortable.”
The changes made to Schindler range from the maintenance and classrooms to the navigation system to much more. Because the building had not been touched since it was built in the 1970s, many said it was ready to be updated.
“We weren’t using our lecture halls; everybody hated the classrooms so it really needed a lot of work,” said Rick Knivsland, field experience coordinator and chair for the Schindler Renovation Committee.
Knivsland described some of the behind-the-scenes modifications to the building that were involved throughout the renovation process.
“They basically gutted the whole building and replaced all the heating, cooling, air conditioning, electrical […] So half of our budget went towards the stuff that you don’t see behind the walls and above the ceiling and below the floor,” Knivsland said.
Other than maintenance issues, the way students were being taught due to the layout of the classrooms was also outdated. Phil Simpson, director of facilities planning, explained the reasoning for the building renovation.
“The building was built around an open classroom environment that had gone out in the early 1980s, and yet our building was still teaching classes in that open classroom environment,” Simpson said. “So we really needed to update the pedagogy of the building and the way classes are being taught. That was the primary driver.”
Schindler has a large seating area right at the entrance for students to sit amongst friends or study comfortably. This seating area, called the Great Room, houses the newest dining addition to campus, Schindigs.
Schindler also offers different places within the building to study quietly that are farther away from the seating area of the Great Room. The Learning Stairs — a cement staircase used to walk to the first level — are also located in the Great Room, but the larger cork stairs are another place for students to sit and study or socialize. There is also a smaller library inside at the convenience of students and faculty.
However, the new classrooms may be one of the most notable additions to the building. They are all equipped to better serve students with different needs. Even the lecture hall is equipped to aid people with hearing-related needs.
There is also a classroom referred to as the TEAL lab in which there are large screens throughout the room allowing for small group work if desired.
One thing that students will notice just from walking into the building, however, is the entire building is color-coded for easier navigation. Students and faculty can now more easily find their classroom with the warm and cool colors representing where different classrooms are located throughout the building.
“We were able to open up areas so we could get this connectedness between things on this floor […] and we were able to open up between the floors being able to make the wayfinding of the building much easier,” Simpson said. “It is really student-focused, which is part of the university’s overall goal to increase student success, and that is really what the building is focused on.”
Some students have already praised the new renovations in Schindler since the building was re-opened. Brenna Bleeker, early childhood education major, says she feels most comfortable when spending time working in Schindler.
“It is more ideal for trying to go there and study,” Bleeker said. “It is like an environment that you would want to work on projects and whatever else.”