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Swearer Center for Public Service to move to Stimson Avenue

New location near Nelson Fitness Center to increase space, accessibility, feature study rooms

The Swearer Center for Public Service is set to move to 2 Stimson Ave. near the Nelson Fitness Center from its current location near the Rockefeller Library in June. The move will double the Center’s current office space and feature new rooms for student collaboration.

The primary reason behind the move is that “we have outgrown our current space” at 25 George St., said Executive Director of the Swearer Center Mathew Johnson. The Swearer Center’s staff has grown from 13 to 25 over the past three years, he added. The “traffic and collaboration” among PhD students, graduate students and Swearer Center staff “has greatly increased as well.”

Diana Cruz ’21, a member of the Swearer Center Student Advisory Committee, said that while the current space has a “cozy, homey vibe,” she feels “squished” and that “people are working on top of each other.”

“I had noticed from just being at the (current location) the need for more space,” Cruz said. “Seeing how joyous the staff was about the move rubbed off on me and made me feel like this is the right step in the Swearer Center’s history. There’s a lot of excitement around the move.”

The new Swearer Center location will also add two registrar-owned classrooms that students can reserve for study space, as well as an office for the SAC, Johnson said.

Cruz said that it has been difficult for the SAC to schedule meetings at the current location because they do not have a reserved space within the building. But a room dedicated to the SAC at 2 Stimson Ave. will facilitate meetings and communication between members, she added.

“We care very much about having a place for our community partners and (students) to be able to engage with us, and to have a place for them to build a community amongst themselves,” said Asia Stevens, administrative assistant at the Swearer Center.

While the bulk of the move is scheduled to take place in June, “some external work may still have to be done over the summer, such as (adding) an accessibility entrance,” Johnson said. Currently, the Center’s building at 25 George St. is not accessible for students with physical disabilities.

Stevens acknowledged that the new location near the Nelson “is not necessarily (regarded) as the center of campus … (but) we (will be) closer to Thayer Street, and I feel like there’s a lot of student life that happens over there.”

The move will also bring the Swearer Center closer to some of its community partners, such as Hope High School, Stevens said.

“The center of gravity of the campus is going to slowly shift over the next couple of years with the construction” of the new Performing Arts Center, the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship and the health and wellness center and residence hall, Johnson said. “A lot of that energy is going to be redistributed to that part of campus. … We’re really excited to be at the nexus of that.”

Constructed in 1861 as a single-family Italian Villa, the building at 2 Stimson Ave. was most recently occupied by the Carney Institute for Brain Science, which relocated to the newly renovated building at 164 Angell St., The Herald previously reported.

The University is “still evaluating” what will be the best use for the building at 25 George St. once the Swearer Center staff moves out, wrote Associate Provost for Academic Space Leah VanWey in an email to The Herald.


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