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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Olscamp cuts confusion

It may be true that ‘if you build it, they will come.’ But if you build it like a maze, chances are they’ll wander around scratching their heads.

The floor plan for Olscamp Hall was questioned by students, faculty and the community ever since its opening seven years ago. Now something has finally been done about it.

Olscamp was built to accommodate a lot of people at one time. About one-eighth of the student population may be coming or going between classes, so Olscamp’s layout is much different than the older buildings on campus, said Julie Baker, coordinator of the Audio/Visual Department in Olscamp.

‘When the building was designed the rooms were not numbered in a logical manner, which made it easy to get lost,’ said Lisa Kenecey, administrative assistant of Capital Planning.

As a result, Baker said she had to spend a lot of time between classes pointing people in the right direction. Her staff grew accustomed to the complaints of virtually everyone from outside campus. Finding the stairways was another problem; few even knew there were staircases other than the main one in the center of the building.

‘We had enough griping and moaning to do something about it,’ Baker said.

A mandate was handed down in mid-summer from Dr. Linda Dobb, executive vice president of Information Technology Services. A meeting was then held with The Collaborative, the company which designed the hall, to see what could be done. According to Baker, the options presented were to either change the offending room numbers or to give better directions within the building. But signs would only be a band-aid on a complex problem.

‘Signs would be a nightmare with the old system,’ Baker said.

Those involved decided to renumber the rooms on the first floor. It may seem strange, however, to make the changes in the middle of a semester. But Lora Wagner, director of Registration and Records, said that the timing was right–the need was there, as were the necessary funds. Many groups were involved in the process, such as the Office of Capital Planning, the custodial and electrical departments, The Collaborative and a contracted sign company.

A budget of $8,000 was approved by Dobb, with the plans slimmed down in order to be practical instead of elaborate. These changes are part of an overall upgrade to Olscamp, which also includes DVD players for some classrooms and a replacement of the 800 lumens projector in room 101 with a new, 4500 lumens projector.

The new signs outside the rooms, which Baker said are in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will be easier to see, display both large white print and braille on a contrastingly dark background. They also identify the designations for certain rooms more clearly. And now instead of odd numbers being on one side of the building and even numbers on the other, they go around in order. Many believe the new organization is more logical and sequential.

‘I am positive we will see a difference,’ said Baker.

Baker anticipates that the new system may cause confusion for the first couple of weeks. But the confusion may lessen when planned directories and wall marquees are all installed. Schedule and room changes are being distributed to many students and directors, and the Olscamp staff will have to memorize both the new and the old systems in order to give directions. Rooms printed for Olscamp Hall on students’ schedules should be numbered correctly according to the changes that were made. Spring term will be the first trial of the new system’s success.

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