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Newly completed renovations to the Center for Careers and Life After Brown were formally unveiled Friday, with an opening celebration hosted in the first-floor program space. Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron and Director of the CareerLAB Andrew Simmons spoke to a crowd of students and faculty, highlighting the long-standing need for improvements to the building and the complete transformation of the space.
The $300,000 construction project, which impacted all three floors of the building, includes newly installed LCD screens in both the program space and the new first-floor conference room, Simmons said. The previous kitchen was downsized, and an entire wall was demolished in order to make use of previously underused space and allow more sunlight to reach the central program space.
The project also involved an interior design upgrade, which included a paint job, an updated color scheme and new carpeting and furniture for the first floor.
Simmons said an integral focus of the renovation was ensuring that the building became more navigable for students. To encourage entry into the central program space, the first-floor doors were replaced with glass and a CareerLAB logo was added.
"Now it's very clear that it's open for business," Simmons said.
"Creative thinking" regarding potential renovations began last fall, with the aim of transforming the space "beyond just painting and carpeting," Simmons said. Construction began at the beginning of June and concluded at the end of August, in time for students returning to campus. "We went very quickly from ideas to actually doing something," he said.
Simmons said the University's continuing efforts to improve advising services should be contextualized within the final report of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education, released in September 2008, which recommended strengthening and increasing career advising for undergraduates.
"I think a lot of what has happened in the last few years has grown out of that goal," Simmons said, citing J. Walter Wilson and the Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center, which were both renovated after 2008, as examples of the University's attempts to enhance student services.
The renovation was funded by contributions from a number of Brown affiliates including the Provost's office, Facilities Management and the CareerLAB itself, Simmons said. The funds financed the replacement of the first-floor heating and cooling system in addition to the interior renovation. The CareerLAB also underwent minor renovations last winter, when a leaking roof was resealed.
"It exceeded expectations," Simmons said of the finished renovation.
There has been interest in renovating since the CareerLAB first moved to 167 Angell St. several years ago, Bergeron said in a brief statement during the grand opening. Though the space was "perfectly functional," Bergeron said the new interior better emphasizes the University's dedication to lifelong learning.
"Brown is a place where you can come to realize your full potential," she said. "The new and improved CareerLAB is a place that can help you on that journey."
She added that the CareerLAB should be a place where students could feel comforted, nurtured and respected.
"Students need to be able to interact with employers effectively, with advisers effectively, with alumni," Simmons said. "Having a space that's absolutely, positively conducive to that is critical."



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