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The Blue & Gray Press | October 17, 2017

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Newly renovated Mercer and Woodard Halls open to students

Newly renovated Mercer and Woodard Halls open to students

By REBECA MURPHY

A new year brought with it new homes for two of the University of Mary Washington’s largest departments. Both the College of Business and the Department of Psychological Science began the spring semester officially moved into newly renovated Woodard and Mercer Halls.

On Dec. 7, 2015, the College of Business Student Advisory Board offered a tour of the finished renovations in Woodard Hall. Faculty then moved into the second floor on Dec. 16, 2015. In anticipation of their new home, the College of Business had t-shirts made with Woodard Hall featured on the back of the shirts. The move is a big deal for the College of Business since this is the first time they have had their own building.

Chandler Hall housed both the Department of Psychology and the College of Business before it was demolished in 2013.

Although, the building was open to tour last month, most students have not seen inside Woodard Hall until this semester. Some features of the new renovations include, new furniture, 31 private faculty offices, five team rooms, five classrooms, student copy center, computer lab and large collaboration breakout room; all offering a fresh modern look.

In addition to these features, Woodard is attached to the Eagle’s Nest, the WMWC Radio Studio and post office. This is a valued convenience for business students. With the ability to be able to grab a bite to eat before or after class, work on their studies and run errands, schedules can run a little smoother now. Walking into the main entrance of Woodard Hall, the lobby is bright with red sofas and a scroll bar displaying news updates for the College of Business and stocks.

Faculty and students are enjoying these new features. Professors who previously had offices in George Washington Hall during the renovations liked the changes in Woodard Hall, particularly the open spaces.

Rachel Graefe-Anderson, assistant professor in the College of Business, misses her cozy corner office in George Washington, but “it’s really nice to have our own space,” she said. One noticeable feature: there are both the men’s and women’s restrooms on both floors in Woodard Hall.

To some, this may be trivial. However, for business faculty and students, it is a great convenience. Since the building officially opened, day-to-day functions have not truly put Woodard Hall to the test. John Mulloy, senior accounting major, has enjoyed the new building, but believes there could be improvements.

“The building is a nice addition for business majors to call their own. Some improvements could be made, like seating outside classrooms in the hall,” Mulloy said. He was not the only student to comment on the lack of seating. A few students were frustrated having to stand or sit on the floor while waiting for their classroom to become available or their turn to speak with a professor.

Smita Oxford, assistant professor in the College of Business, shared her thoughts, believing the structure would meet the needs of students and professors. “I think that it was very well thought out. Every time I need something, it’s there,” Oxford said. “They did a good job figuring out the motions and layout. From a teaching standpoint, they structured it effectively.”

Students and faculty in the Department of Psychology are also adjusting to their new space in Mercer Hall. Modern renovations bring in more light and space for students and faculty to focus on their work.

Sammy Buechler, junior psychology major, commented on Mercer’s structure and the amenities offered to students. “It’s nice to have windows and a computer lab of our own,” Buechler said.

The Department of Psychology was previously located in the annex trailers located off College Avenue, and were known to be closed off and dark inside due to lack of natural lighting. They also shared the trailers with business students, which could be cramped at times.

However, it is the little things people notice in Mercer Hall. Courtney Hardy, sophomore psychology major, has so far liked the features of the new building. “I like the desks here a lot more. They are larger and more comfortable. It’s [also] nice I can use my Eagle One card to access the building after hours,” Hardy said.

Many convenient features were added to the renovations list, including 24 faculty offices, three large classrooms, two eye tracker labs, two social development labs, two quiet testing rooms, two computer labs, a cognitive lab, a control room, a physiology lab and media lab.

Although the walls are bare and tags are still on the furniture, everyone is very excited to have somewhere to call home.