The new school year has brought about a number of physical changes for St. John’s University. New buildings have been added and older buildings have been renovated to become more student-friendly and to improve the quality of campus life.
One of the biggest changes on campus has been the addition of Donovan Hall to the residence community. “The building is student friendly and a fantastic addition to the residence halls,” said Henry Humphreys, dean of Residence Life.
Donovan Hall is a freshman residence with a different setup from the previous five halls. The rooms are triple-occupancy and the two bedrooms are connected with a bathroom. “Students like living corridor-style, they find it much easier to make connections with other students,” said Jason Perri, Residence Director for Donovan Hall.
Most students have had a favorable experience with their rooms so far. “It’s nice. I like my room a lot,” freshman Eric Easterbrook said.
A major difference between Donovan Hall and the other Residence Halls is that Donovan has a large community room where students can gather for various programs.
“There has been a phenomenal output at recent events. The community is growing, there has been a lot of student involvement and initiative,” Perri said.
However, there have been some complaints. According to Residence Life, the biggest concern from the students has been the elevator. They have been working on the issue and the motors in the elevators are being changed to provide more effective service.
Freshman Courtney Wagner is pleased with her new residence. However, she feels that a “few kinks need to be worked out.” The ventilation system shoots out sawdust and leaky piping caused a student’s entire room to flood, she said.
Another major change in the Residence Halls has been the incorporation of a convenience store. The ‘C’-Store is located in Montgoris Dining Hall and serves as a convenience store for the St. John’s community. “It recognizes the needs of residents as well as commuters,” Humphreys said.
The store opened on Sept. 4 and has been doing very well. “There are always students around and the staff members love it,” Diane Godek, secretary to the dean said. It is open seven days a week.
The ‘C’-Store provides students with items such as milk, laundry detergent and potato chips. “It’s a great addition to SJU,” said Licelis Lamboy-Brewington, director of Food Services for Montgoris Dining Hall.
The store is also commuter-friendly, as both cash and resident Storm Cards are accepted.
Another notable change in the University has been the relocation of the Fitness Center.
“Many people felt the prior Fitness Center was too small of a space,” said Jodi Cox, assistant director of Operations and Student Services.
The old Fitness Center was converted back to a lecture hall for programming and speakers.
The new Fitness Center is located in the Storm Center and is open six days a week. The new center has the same concept as the old one but “it is definitely better. The other one was so tiny,” said junior education major Kristin Pavone.
The equipment from the old center was merged with the equipment located in the Fitness Center at Century Hall. There have also been some new pieces added. The center has a new abdominal station, crosstrainer and other pieces of equipment such as treadmills and bikes.
“It is a beautiful facility, much bigger and brighter,” Cox said.
The library has also been undergoing construction since this past summer. The entire south wing is being renovated to become more student and staff oriented.
“The library is the academic and cultural center of the University,” said Theresa Maylone, executive director for Planning and Operation in the Library. “We are really happy to provide this space.”
The new section will include an honors lounge and offices for the Honors program. There is also a reading room, open to everyone. The reading section is equipped with couches, low tables, computers and outlets to plug in individual laptops. An individual section for graduate students to study in has also been set up.
“It is a much nicer environment for the students,” said professor Barbara Appleby, director of Library Services for the Queens Campus.
The area also includes separate rooms of study that must be reserved for use. These rooms can be used by professors for their classes or by students for large study groups.
All the money for the renovations has been provided by the Provost budget. “We are hoping the students and faculty will love the area and help to promote renovations throughout the rest of the library,” Maylone said.