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Downtown classroom space offers relief from campus crunch

When the University Downtown Center opens for courses this fall, 11 new state-of-the-art classrooms will be available. A new approach to course and room scheduling will help to ensure that the University makes good use of the space, Provost Mary Ann Swain said.

“What we’re trying to do is offer as many course opportunities to students as we can using the rooms available,” she said. “We’ve just got a crunch on classroom space.”

Standard class meeting times have been established to allow students and instructors enough time to travel between the Vestal campus and the Downtown Center between class sessions.

Off Campus College Transport buses will make regular trips between the two locations.

The course schedule accommodates one-hour classes on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule in Vestal, 85-minute courses on a Tuesday-Thursday schedule in Vestal and three-hour blocks every day downtown.

Faculty members are encouraged to use the regular meeting patterns for classes, although courses that require specialized space or equipment, such as laboratories, performance spaces and studios, may continue to meet in Vestal during three-hour time slots, Swain said.

The downtown classrooms will be laptop-ready, said Jeffrey Donahue, director of Educational Communications. Each will have a projection system and faculty members will be able to plug in a laptop as well as use DVD and VHS players.

“They’re going to rival the best rooms we have right now,” Swain said.

The rooms will also make use of the latest push-button control system, which has proven reliable and easy to use, Donahue said. New digital document cameras will offer improved image quality as well.

In addition, conference rooms and small-group meeting rooms downtown will have the same equipment as the classrooms. That way, student groups working on a presentation can practice using the technology in the meeting rooms and feel comfortable when they get into the classroom.

Academic units are making adjustments to their initial schedules now, Registrar Terry Kelley-Wallace said.

The University’s fall schedule goes online March 31 and early registration begins April 12. She noted that students will be able to see where classes are being held during registration.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08