Community gets a new look

The recent Kohl Hall renovations, carrying a price tag of $4 million to date, are more than a simple face-lift.

The project included the renovation of apartments and bathrooms; new faculty offices; additional commons areas; art, music and recreational rooms; and upgrades to aesthetics such as sculptures, galleries, an atrium, aquarium and waterfall.

The new look of the hall has an emphasis on the natural and fluid and tries to avoid straight, hard lines and the cold look generally associated with dormitories.

“[The look] is nice, it’s state of the art and they’ve really catered it to our needs,” Ben Kasch, a Kohl resident and Chapman Learning Community member said.

The Chapman Learning Community, now housed in Kohl Hall, is focused on bringing other types of learning back into the education process.

According to Chapman Director Tom Klein, the community, “brings forth aesthetic learning, creative learning, social learning and physical learning.” These forms of education, defined by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, can often be more immersive to students.

The first step, but by no means the only step, taken by the Community is to bring the educational process closer to home. To this end, students take classes in Kohl Hall taught by teachers with offices in Kohl Hall. This is something that most students in the community find agreeable.

“It’s nice not having to walk far to class,” Kohl resident Dan Wearsch said, “you can sleep a little later.”

“It’s also nice that the office is here, and if I have a question I can just walk downstairs.” Kasch said.

These classes are also likely to be related more thematically than some of the various classes available outside of the community. The community puts value in the idea of the different disciplines talking to each other. Putting a relationship between science, art, English and other subjects.

While the concept of classes so close to home and teachers may sound like coddling to some, Klein stresses that this is not the case.

“[In the community] education is more exciting, more rigorous, more demanding and more engaging.” The Chapman community also uses a plethora of co-curricular activities to stress even further education inside and outside the classroom.

Learning communities, such as Chapman, have had positive results on campus. In fact, U.S. News ‘ World Report included the University on a short list of the best schools in the country for learning communities. The list of 21 schools put the university in the company of Duke, Yale and Temple Universities.

The new look of Kohl Hall and the mission of the Chapman Learning Community are both examples of modern design, a fluid integration of work and play and a seamless combination of large university resources with a small community feel. “Community,” in the case of Chapman, is not just a buzzword, but the way the atmosphere of Kohl Hall is.

“The camaraderie is good.” Kasch said, “Everyone is really friendly. You can walk down any hallway, walk into any door, and start a conversation.”