NW01, the newest addition to NW Campus’ redevelopment plan, briefly opened its doors for a tour to show off its what-to-come features.
NW student leaders talked among each other, glancing around the NW01 lobby they stood in while construction quietly finalized around them. They were most excited about the promise of space.
“There’s just so many new spaces and such good areas to study and actually socialize with people,” Maria Rivera, NW student and Phi Theta Kappa vice president of public relations said. “I think it’s also a plus that its open space.”
She explained that prior to NW01, NW05 was the only example of what the development could change and has experienced trouble since trying to find spaces that are not crowded. She appreciates that this building responds to the needs she saw students had and welcomes the change.
“They’ve been so receptive to student needs, and I think this building is a really good example,” Rivera said. “Because like I said, they brought back so many of the things that we’ve needed that we felt we lost.”
Set to be open to all students this month, NW01 will be for students. There are wider, larger areas of seating and waiting, and a grand staircase that extends to the second floor. Along with this, student services like Student Accessibilities and Intercultural Network will be moved into this building.
To ensure that accessibility for students is maximized, Vice President of Student Affairs Jan Clayton told the group that she and a team are working on accessibility mapping NW01.
“One of the things that we hope to have ready to go in the next couple of weeks: you’ll be able to see a sign that says, ‘Most accessible route,’” she said. “Hit the QR code, and it’s going to show you the most ideal points of entry or place to travel and navigate the building.”
Clayton also said that the building will continue to be assessed for accessibility and emphasized creating a “universal design” that will address the needs of the students.
“What you’re going to see is an ongoing effort to continue to respond to what we hear students telling us and then what we know as best practice opportunities to integrate that into our buildings as we go along as well,” she said.
The student leaders saw where each student resource was going to be located after the grand opening. However, after seeing the designated space for Intercultural Network at NW01, NW student Leander D’Costa and Connect Campus SGA treasurer, was not pleased.
Intercultural Network’s temporary location is in NW05. While the anticipated space is larger, D’Costa said it was smaller than it was before being moved. He worries the new area will not account for any events to be held or properly house the members.
“it’s a really sad event, and we do hope that something is done about it, and we can get a bigger space for the Intercultural Network that students can hang out among the community and be able to just have a space where they feel secure on the spot, especially people of color and minority communities,” he said.
Still, students are hopeful for NW01 and appreciate the way it looks. Mia Carrizales, NW SGA Senate chair said she loved all the natural light.
“I actually really love it, I love the windows – one thing I loved about the old campus is the library’s big windows, like it brings so much natural lighting – and then when it rains, it’s going to be so nice,” she said.