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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Scoville Shuffle: Free-ing Up Space in Scoville

<rs ago, students in suits and dresses sat at wooden tables on the first floor of Scoville studying beneath the arches and carved wood wainscoting.

Today, the first floor, which was once lit by ornate glass fixtures, is locked and dark. Since CAMS moved to the Weitz Center for Creativity in 2011, none of these rooms have been used.

“The President, having been at other institutions, knows that space is always political,” said Kathy Evertz who is the Director for Academic Support Center and who has her office in Scoville. “He created a Facilities Master Planning Committee, which is looking at how best to use this space rather than blindly putting someone in the first floor of Scoville temporarily, just to use the space.”

The Facilities Planning Committee works to execute Carleton’s strategic plan. This includes examining the existing science, music, and public events facilities and deciding how to expand and restructure them.

Part of the Plan is to find a new, better use for Scoville, which currently houses the Writing Center, administrative offices for the Academic Support Center, the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC), and the Office of Intercultural and International Life (OIIL).

Many plans are on the table, but currently, the most viable is to use Scoville for Admissions, according to Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers, co-chair of the Facilities Planning Committee with Biology Professor and Associate Dean Fernan Jaramillo.

“I maintain that Scoville is the worst plan in college history because the building was partitioned without paying heed to its beautiful architecture and to its past use as a library,” Rogers said. “We need to turn this really cool building into something that has a prominent and public use because that is what the location and history of the building deserve.”

Jaramillo agreed, “We need to restore the building to its architectural elegance.”

In order to renovate the building, the Facilities Planning Committee will come up with a proposal for how the college can use Scoville. Then, with the building’s new use in mind, renovations will happen. These renovations will include adding ramps and an elevator to make the building wheelchair accessible.

Jaramillo and Rogers stressed that the plan for Scoville cannot involve partitioning and needs to integrate the building’s current architecture.

“A department that wants 24 cubicles is not going to be placed in Scoville because that is not conducive to the structures Scoville has,” explained Rogers.

With this requirement in mind, the Committee is looking most closely at using Scoville for Admissions.

“Admissions needs more space,” Rogers said. “The Alumni Guest House meeting room is a bit small for orientation, and there are spaces in Scoville that would be great for this.”

Jaramillo added, “Scoville is friendly to visitors and a wonderful first impression of Carleton.”

Currently, the Committee is in conversation with the Carleton community and admissions, asking them to comment on the Facilities Master Plan.

Once the Committee, which is made up of students, faculty, and staff, comes up with a plan for Scoville, it will make a proposal to President Steven Poskanzer in February. Based on the President’s and the Board of Trustees’ comments, the Committee will review its proposal and present a final proposal in May.

Because Scoville will be turned over to a single department, such as admissions, the programs that currently use the building must be moved.

Kathy Evertz and other administrators for the Academic Support Center currently have their offices on the second floor of Scoville.

“We might be relocated to the library, but nothing is set in stone because the Committee has to look at the whole campus, which is really complicated,” she said. “If we move some place, we are likely displacing someone, and the Committee has to keep all of this in mind.”

Katie Richards ’14, a writing consultant, enjoys having the Writing Center in Scoville because it is “simply in a very central part of campus.”

She would not like the location of the writing center changed. “Because of the way that our library is laid out I don’t see it working there,” she said. “There’s usually a ton of people, and it can get very loud. In Scoville, there isn’t the pressure of a ton of people watching you get help from a writing consultant. It’s a little more secluded and more private.”

Similarly, Jay Shen ’15, an OIIL peer leader, believes Scoville is the best place for OIIL. “It has enough space, and the space offers a sense of coziness,” he said. In addition, he enjoys having the GSC and OIIL close to each other because they both talk about openness and acceptance.

However, the Scoville basement appears isolated from the rest of the campus, according to Shen.

“I know lots of people who do not even know where OIIL or GSC is,” he said.

In order to make OIIL more visible, Shen suggested moving it to one of the houses that Carleton has renovated into offices.

Keeping in mind what works best for all members of the Carleton community and what is outlined in the Strategic Plan “is a long process that involves a lot of pieces. We are just at the beginning,” Rogers said.

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