De La Salle Hall to Be Renovated

After last year’s Thomas Hall renovation, De La Salle (DLS) Hall is the next one in line to get a face-lift. The project, which inception started about one year and a half ago, is finally coming to life this upcoming summer.

The building, part of the original Riverdale campus of Manhattan College, was built in 1922, and despite minor changes it has stayed somewhat similar for the past 95 years. The façade of the second-floor hallway will be completely renovated, the finance lab expanded, and two of the classrooms in the north side of the building transformed to serve as a state-of-the-art lounge where students can have meetings and professors can have class in a non-traditional atmosphere.

“We are very excited. We want the renovations to go floor by floor; it’s going to be so professional and cutting-edge that I can’t wait to see how it turns out,” Janet Rovenpor, Ph.D., interim dean of the School of Business, said. “Because our instruction is so high-quality, we need to match it with our facilities.”

According to Andrew Ryan, vice president of facilities, the project will start right after commencement and finish, hopefully, right before the start of the Spring semester. Right now, they are in the process of estimating the total costs of the renovation.

This is part of the college’s overall plan of renovating facilities, having this one as a priority and next summer the expansion of the south campus for the School of Engineering. Particularly this one is key to the School of Business and its projections moving forward.

“It’s a nice project that I think is needed,” Ryan said. “It will certainly provide some high-tech flexible learning space in the two classrooms at the north-end. Just the updating and beautification of the hallway will give a more professional look to that part of the building, which is a focal point for the School of Business.”

For Rovenpor, the idea of the northern classrooms being a place where students could hang out, make projects, work in teams and consult with faculty is not new, she had shared it with her students throughout the years until now that is becoming a reality.

“Collaborative Workspace,” she calls it. “The goal of this new room will be to move from a traditional lecture format to something that is more flexible and can be used for diverse purposes.”

As inspiration for the renovation, Salwa Ammar, Ph.D., dean of the School of Business, and Aileen Farrelly, assistant dean of the School of Business, visited different workplaces (including the Google headquarters in Manhattan) that mirrored what they had in mind. Based on what they saw they created the sketches for what would become the formal plan.

A big part of what is going to be done over the summer is the expansion of the finance lab, a space that is one of the most used rooms in the building. This has crucial importance, not only for its aesthetical appearance, but because its pedagogical purpose.

“This means that we will make our work more efficiently and reach more students,” Dr. Rovenpor said. “We’re not going to be limited to only the twelve terminals, is going to have a nicer feel because it will be more open allowing better interaction, and some of the technical difficulties we have will disappear because the space will be less crowded.”

This is not only the opinion of the professors; students also echo these concerns.

“[The expansion] is definitely necessary,” Michael Murray, senior majoring in Finance, said. “Half of my classes we don’t have enough computers or chairs to seat the whole class. Sometimes it gets really cluttered, so I think is a great idea.”

For Murray, who wants to work in the financial market trading options and futures, the Bloomberg terminals have been exceptionally helpful to learn what he needs to know going into the labor market.

“People are always asking what this room is, and even if they are not finance majors they always walk by and see the ticker going,” said Murray about the room located in the middle of the hallway. “If it gets expanded they will know it is an important room so I can imagine it would only help [to attract new students].”