The current Coles Tower second floor renovation is part of a four-year makeover of the building. The revamp will create new ADA-accessible living spaces for students in Fall 2016 and relocate the IT offices in the process. 

The changes to the second floor were not originally part of the plans for the ongoing building renovation. However, it was incorporated early in the process because of high demand for housing in the Tower, said Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley.

The renovation of the second floor is still in its early stages. Longley said the bulk of that renovation will happen this summer; however, the rooms will be a part of the housing lottery this spring, and students will move in next fall. 

“It’s a really good use of space, taking down those walls and adding more beds,” said Longley. “It’ll be a nice floor, they’ll be brand new rooms, I think it will be popular in the lottery.”

While the common room size may vary from the rest of Coles Tower, all bedrooms on the second floor will be ADA accessible, Senior Project Manager John Simoneau explained. Depending on ResLife’s need for beds, these bedrooms could serve as doubles as well. 

To make room for the big changes, Bowdoin’s IT department has moved to the Tower basement where the Textbook Center used to be.

Tom Ezquerro ’18, an IT student employee, weighed in on the big move.

“There are certain things to miss, but there are also a lot of pros to the basement,” said Ezquerro. “I think one of the big pros is that a large majority of the IT department is now together in one space, so you’re kind of pooling all of this knowledge together.”

The space has been completely renovated for IT and features brand-new cubicles in its spacious setting. Since all of IT student services are now under the same roof, there will be no more running around campus for AV and student help desk inquiries. 

One casualty of the renovation is the Tower’s computer lab, which has been permanently removed. Longley said she knew of no plans for the lab to be reopened in a new location.

Ezquerro thinks the IT move will better the accessibility and unity of the staff.

“It’s supposed to encourage interaction between the different sections of IT and hopefully to get some cross training between our different departments so we can be a little more flexible and responsive,” said Ezquerro.

For the department’s new late hours—open until 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays—the renovated basement space’s layout opens up directly into the office space, allowing students to seek assistance even more easily.

Ezquerro cites the maze of a floorplan in their former second floor office space as a deterrent. “Before we’d have to get up and it was kind of a hassle and some people would just walk away,” he said.  

Ezquerro did remark that the news of IT’s new location does not seem to have gotten around campus yet and might take an adjustment period.

“I think most people are actually pretty happy about it,” Ezquerro said. “Personally, I was a little sad about the windowless-ness of the basement, but now, it’s just really nice to have everybody down there and it’s just a really nice space to be able to work and welcome people in.”