St. John Hall renovation proposed

Plans to renovate the second floor of the University’s library, as well as other small projects have been “put on hold,” according to a University official.

The Humanities Center, located on the second floor of St. Augustine Hall, was originally scheduled to open in
fall 2009.

It would have provided office space for professors currently in St. John Hall, allowing Tobin School of Business professors to move in to the building.

Instead, the University is planning a $9 million renovation project of St. John Hall, one of the oldest academic buildings on the Queens campus.

In a recent interview with the Torch, James Pellow, University executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO) said that the plan will be brought to the University’s executive board in March.

If approved, the renovations are set to take place during the upcoming summer in time for the start of the 2010 fall semester.

For some, the planned renovation project to one of the campus’ most used academic buildings is a welcome improvement.

Students like junior Hakiem Simmons feel that the building’s age has become increasingly visible and that updating technology is important as the school continues to grow.

“I think the plans to renovate [St. John Hall] are very good,” said Simmons. “A room my organization meets in has a hole in the ceiling where the projector should be.”

Pellow said the renovations are a part of a University effort to respond to student feedback and modernize the school’s classroom facilities.

“The idea is to completely renovate the classrooms in St. John Hall, ceiling to floor – new lights, new furniture, new air conditioning, new smart boards,” said Pellow.
Pellow said that by the end of summer 2010, St. John’s students would have “a nice setting” where ever they sit on campus and that a better learning environment would enhance the student experience.

Senior James Kin said he is pleased with the plans to modernize St. John Hall, noting that it is “much older compared to the other buildings on campus.”

Other students feel that the renovation may not be the best use of money considering the current economic environment.

“They already have computers and projectors in the rooms. I think [the money] could go to tuition relief,” said Sheamus Mullarkey, a junior at St. John’s.