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The Blue & Gray Press | May 25, 2017

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Staff Editorial: Lee Hall Renovations a Vast Improvement

The new Lee Hall sure is pretty, but couldn’t they have waited to open it until everything was finished?

Apparently, the University didn’t even give the Bookstore staff time to move in all the way, let alone figure out where everything was. When store employees say, “If you need help finding anything, your guess is as good as ours,” it might be a good idea to postpone the opening a little bit.

That said, the new Bookstore is vastly improved over the last two. For one thing, it actually has windows. You heard right: no nasty, depressing, fluorescent tint bearing down on merchandise and shoppers.

Not only that, there’s also room to move around and form a line that doesn’t get in the way of everything and clog up the store.

The Underground is scheduled to reopen at the beginning of next year, which will give campus a distinctly more satisfying venue than Great Hall for comedians and small concerts.

Then there’s the revamped Student Services center occupying the space that was the old Lee Hall bookstore.

There’s even a bank of easy chairs to keep you comfy while you wait. The registrar, cashier, student accounts and financial aid offices are right next to each other and clearly marked, you know, in case you actually have important things to take care of.

What’s more, the offices are conveniently located on the first floor, which makes them not only easy to navigate, but easy to find.
The only issue we can find with the renovations is the partitioning of the old ballroom. Seriously, what gives?

You’d have thought that if you needed to break up a single large space into several smaller ones, the hideous Great Hall would be the obvious choice.

But no. Instead, the University tore apart one of the most attractive single spaces on campus to make three smaller and decidedly less attractive rooms.

Now the space that had once held small campus gatherings and acoustic music is no more.

Sure, the Underground will make a great substitute for the space, but a bar isn’t the same thing as an old-school ballroom. The charm just isn’t there.

On the outside, Lee Hall looks pretty much the same, save the big rear-end tacked on to the Sunken Road side of the building to accommodate the new Bookstore and office space.

From the front, though, the only real evidence of any renovations is a new patio and some landscaping at the entrance to the Underground.
All in all, the renovations to Lee will help bring the University’s appearance and aesthetics up to its academic standards.

Upon completion of the badly needed updating of Monroe Hall next year, UMW might actually start looking as impressive as our brochures say we do.

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