Friedman Study Center opens

By
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

After two years of planning, the $4 million Susan and Richard A. Friedman Study Center is now open to students as a 24-hour study space. Located in the basement, lobby and mezzanine levels of the Sciences Library, the 27,000-square-foot center contains new, brightly colored furniture, a cafe and dozens of new computers.

The SciLi basement – Level A – now houses over 65 computer workstations, a multimedia workstation area, two conference rooms, eight private group-study rooms featuring dry-erase walls and an assistive technology room for the vision and hearing impaired.

The center has also been outfitted with entirely new lighting and furniture, some designed for “serious study” and some “nap-worthy,” according to Katherine Wolford, project director for Campus Life and Student Services. The basement windows now look out onto several new gardens, some still under construction, on the library terrace, while the main SciLi reference and checkout services, previously located in the lobby, are now on Level A.

Though the floor structurally comprises one large, rectangular room, furniture and decorative barriers break it into several sections. Signs with decibel levels, ranging from zero to 50, denote how quiet students should be in a specific area.

The revamped lobby contains the new Friedman Cafe, which sells hot and cold beverages, pastries, packaged foods, soups, sandwiches, sushi and salads to go – all of which can be paid for with flex points. Students can eat in the basement or on the mezzanine.

The mezzanine has undergone few changes other than a new carpe. According to University Librarian Harriette Hemmasi, it will remain a quiet study space.

Planning for the Friedman Center began in February 2005 after the University received a $5 million gift from Susan Pilch Friedman ’77 P’08 and Richard A. Friedman ’79 P’08. The Friedmans chose to support a study center with their gift because students at the time expressed a “very clear need for accessible, safe, central 24-hour study space,” according to Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, interim vice president for Campus Life and Student Services.

“An exciting thing about this project is that students who are here will actually be able to enjoy it,” Carey said, referring to the relatively short period between the Center’s inception and completion. Unlike the Plan for Academic Enrichment’s other physical expansion initiatives, many of which will take several years to complete, the Friedman Center has taken only two years to implement.

Richard Spies, executive vice president for planning and senior advisor to the president, said the short turnaround was partly because the Friedmans quickly provided their promised financial support.

“They were really excited about it,” Spies said.

The center that opened this week was an “incredibly imaginative way to use what was originally just a very big empty space,” he added.

“Whether you’re going to be there for half an hour or half a day, it’s going to be a place where you’ll feel comfortable,” Spies said.

To ceremonially open the new center, Campus Life and Student Services will host a celebration in the SciLi tomorrow at 11:30 p.m. The first 100 students to show up will receive free gifts, and free food will be available throughout the event. A video iPod raffle will take place at midnight.