Leo’s Scala Room Receives a Makeover

The room has been stripped down to be renevated. DONOVAN VINCENT/ COURTESY

By Zoe DeFazio, Web Editor

The Scala Academy room in the Leo Engineering building has been undergoing renovations after almost 22 years and significant progress has been made.

The Scala Room was previously used for meetings and presentations for engineering students, staff and faculty. 

After the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, NYS had to update their EGRESS codes. These are policies that are put in place to aid people when evacuating a large building in extreme circumstances such as fires and health emergencies. The room was also deemed non A.D.A compliant.

According to UpCodes, buildings in New York State need the proper amount of emergency exits to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people who work in that space. Since the attacks on the World Trade Center, the codes are always being updated.

“Two exits or exit access doorways from any space shall be provided where the design occupant load or the common path of egress travel distance exceeds the values,” according to UpCodes’ website.

After the construction of the Higgins Engineering and Science Center, Manhattan College had to re-evaluate floor plans to ensure the safety of the individuals who use the buildings. 

The room was originally used to hold presentations for accepted students day and orientation; however, it has sat alone in the dark for a few years due to its accessibility issues. 

Tim Ward, dean of the School of Engineering, spoke to The Quadrangle about the future plans of the room. Ward hopes the room could be used for gatherings, such as inductions for honor societies on campus. 

“Before, we were not subject to the codes in the existing legal building, but now we are subject to the codes that affect both Leo and Higgins, and the Scala Academy room,” Ward said. “Leo 236 and Leo 215 used to be spitting images of one another. The Scala Academy room was then renovated, and put back and put it into the great shape that it was.”

The room has been stripped of its flooring for new tiles, and a portion of the entrance wall has been knocked down to place two larger and wider doors for a safe and easy exit in case of emergencies. 

“There’s a lot of wear and tear within the Scala room because of the upholstery,” Ward said. “We can’t have that kind of wear and tear. And so that’s why we limited its use.”

Ronald Gray, vice president of student life, stated that the construction is expected to be finished within the next few weeks and that it will be in full use by the fall 2023 semester. 

When asked what the biggest priority is when it comes to restructuring campus and renovating certain areas, Gray stated that synchronizing the placement of construction and the use of the facility is the biggest factor. 

“[The biggest priority is] Coordinating the scope of renovation work among the affected college departments,” Gray stated in an email to The Quadrangle. 

Although the room’s maximum occupancy will decrease from a total of 130 to 57 people, the Scala Academy room is ready to make its grand return to Manhattan College to once again serve as a place for students and faculty to commune for events.