Library renovation results in fewer faculty offices

While students and library books are being promised more living space, faculty are losing elbow room as they continue to grow in size.

The Warner Library addition and renovation, while it creates plenty of new study and classroom space, is less helpful for the office situation.

According to provost David Fraser, the original plan would have increased the number of faculty offices. But now it has become apparent that three offices will be lost.

“Students have trouble parking their cars,” Fraser said. “We have trouble parking our faculty.”

At the same time, new pressures on office space come from the large numbers of adjunct faculty who need space and from newly hired staff. Next school year will bring additional New Testament, sociology and biochemistry professors to Eastern, among others.

“The faculty is groaning, as much as we love the changes to the library,” said Sandy Bauer, head of the social work department.

Besides the lost office space, those with offices that will remain in the library will be displaced over the summer. Further renovation of the old parts of the building will include the addition of sprinklers and the elimination of some multi-use space for faculty in the library.

“Not only will we have to finish our classes and decide our grades, we have to pack our things and move out by graduation,” said Mike Roberts, sociology professor and chair of the sociology, anthropology and missions department, headquartered in the old library. “Faculty usually do a lot of work during the summer that students are not aware of, and our offices are our workshops.”

The plans for the library were first created under former provost Harold Howard, when the college was not expected to grow as quickly as it has.Fraser said that there is the possibility of the addition of a few offices to make up for the lost ones.

There is space in the Curriculum Lab for another office, he said, and the new classrooms created by the library could allow for one of the McInnis classrooms to be transformed into an office suite.

The current architectural plans, however, appear to call for full-time professors to share offices in Warner, Roberts said. That would create a whole host of problems relating to office hours, phone calls and confidentiality.

“It’s always nice when facilities are upgraded,” Roberts said. “It keeps you feeling good about the place. But it’s a good thing to pay attention to people too, like the faculty.”

But for now, it looks like the people who will become more crowded will have to learn lessons from those who are already crowded.

“We’ve got eight people in one office,” Bauer said of the social work adjuncts. “But we’re managing.”

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