Returning students will notice that several campus renovations took place over the summer. A new Media Commons was built in Hawthorne-Longfellow (H-L) Library, while the Office of Student Aid has moved to a newly-renovated Ashby House, and student housing was renovated in Coles Tower and Brunswick Apartments.

The new Media Commons is located in the old Scratch Space and is part of the H-L Library basement. It replaces the old Language and Media Center and has more versatile functions. 
“The goal is to create a media hub,” said Marjorie Hassen, the director of the Bowdoin College Library, who organized the construction of the Media Commons.

In addition to housing media collections, the Media Commons supports film research and media creation. Adjacent to the existing electronic classroom are two screening rooms, a multimedia lab and two productions studios, along with staff support for students.

“We built a space adjacent to the existing space that is already used. This way we are just enhancing what was there.” said Hassen. “So we didn’t start from scratch. And we thought it made sense to bring all these together into one place because it’s all related.”

Growing technology involvement in coursework has prompted the demand for additional facilities and media support.

“There’s more happening on campus now related to film creation, both within and outside film studies. Faculty from other departments are incorporating films and media into their classes.” said Hassen.

“I looked for a classroom every semester and tried everywhere,” said Professor of Asian Studies and Cinema Studies Shu-chin Tsui. She explained that film studies classes require special rooms with the right amount of light and a quality sound system.

Members of the faculty, library staff and IT formed a consulting group last year to discuss the blueprint of the Media Commons. The construction of the Media Commons, paid for with college funds, started in January and was finished in mid-August by Warren Construction Group.

So far there is one course officially scheduled in the Media Commons. All the relevant classes take place in the 18-seat screening room. 

“It’s very nice for a small-sized [film studies] class,” said Tsui. “It’s also very convenient. The media library is right next door.”

Other renovation projects were completed over the summer as well, including thorough renovation work that began in February on the existing wood-framed Ashby House that now houses the Office of Student Aid.

“We’re now easily accessible on campus. They did a good job in making it [the] very functional building we need,” said Director of Student Aid Michael Bartini.

Additionally, eight rooms in Brunswick Apartments, Units R & S, were renovated. The renovations included remodeling the kitchens, painting, refinishing floors, general clean up and repairs to some interior plumbing.

The fifth through eighth floors of Coles Tower were also upgraded during the summer. This is part of a trustee-approved project to renovate the Tower, which will continue in the next two summers. 

The multi-year project is funded by the College’s deferred maintenance budget and from the proceeds of a bond issue.

“It’s a very different vibe [between the renovated and unrenovated floors]. When you step off the elevator, you’ll notice they’re no longer painted yellow and purple, which makes you feel more at home. It just looks a lot nicer,” said Erin Mullins ’16, who lives on the eighth floor.

In addition to the projects mentioned above, renovations of the historic Harriet Beecher Stowe House at 63 Federal Street will be completed soon. It will function as both a museum open to the public and as an office for faculty on sabbatical.