Updates for the status of the renovation plans throughout NSH will be posted here periodically. Check back throughout the summer to get the latest information.
What’s tagged for renovations?
This summer and fall, NSH will be getting renovations to multiple spaces in multiple phases. The RoboLounge (NSH 1513) will be expanded to include NSH 1517 and NSH 1505. Right now SCS controls these three rooms, meaning that anyone within SCS can use the space. With these renovations and the expansion of Robolounge, we have been told that this larger lounge space would become an RI space, meaning it would only be accessible to people from within our department.
In exchange for getting this space, RI must give up spaces back to SCS. The spaces scheduled to be handed over to SCS control are NSH 1501 (the cubicle areas on the first floor) and NSH 4305/NSH 4303 (the 4th floor lounge). The cubicle area is scheduled to be converted to another conference room slightly larger in size than NSH 1505, and the 4th floor lounge is scheduled to become an improved version of NSH 3305.
To be clear, we are gaining 1507/1505 for the lounge space and we are losing 1501 and 4305/4303.
What has happened so far?
Throughout the month of April, a team responsible for initiating these plans for renovations met weekly. We toured many lounge spaces on campus to collect design ideas and we talked to many students about how they use the space on the 4th floor and the 1st floor and boiled all the comments down into an actionable plan for the first floor lounge space. Talks are now in early stages with the architect and project manager. Nothing is set in stone at the moment with regard to the actual changes to take place, but we have drafted a detailed floor plan of what RoboOrg will be advocating for on behalf of the student body. It is our intention to present these plans to you, the students, so you can become familiar with the process as it unfolds and be informed as to what we will ultimately be able to do when a final budget for renovations is set.
Desiderata. When brainstorming what changes we would like to see in the RoboLounge there were a few recurrent themes:
- Promote social interaction and host department-wide events like PSRs.
- Seating which is not only amenable to lounging, but also for eating lunch or playing board games
- Modularity, allowing students to reconfigure the room for special events (table tennis tournaments, pot lucks, etc)
- Passively reduces noise heard by nearby offices to minimize disturbances throughout the day
- Allow space to work in groups or alone, since the 4th floor lounge is being taken away
- Lighting – Bring more natural light into the lounge
With these ideas in mind, we drafted up what we think the lounge could look like where all of these criteria are met
NSH 1513/1507/1505 Student Proposed Changes
Without getting into detail yet, the main idea behind this chosen layout of the room is that the noisiest activities are confined to the left/upper-left and quieter activities are confined to the right. This is a very hard criterion to fulfill, but we believe this is the best layout for the lounge to support both social and work related activities with minimal overlap. This is the plan that RoboOrg is advocating. Detail oriented meetings are still in early stages, so there may be changes to these presented plans as time goes on. Updates will be posted at the bottom of this page as they become available. The details of our vision are presented below.
Changes to NSH 1505
Given the increasing popularity of the PS4 in the lounge and the expressed desire by many students to have a movie screening location, we propose keeping NSH 1505 separated from the rest of the lounge in order to turn it into an enclosed media area. This area should be able to hold two L-shaped sofas with two coffee tables and a large TV screen (last meeting, the idea of 80″ was tossed around). Additionally, we want to include more seating along the back wall which is raised a bit from the floor. The seats there would be very similar to lecture hall style seats in that they are individual seats and they would be raised a few feet off the ground. Adding a mezzanine to the are will not only make the room more spatially interesting, but it will also give it the feeling of a small private theater. We intend to have the PS4 in this room (maybe other consoles in the future as well) along with wireless streaming capabilities so students can connect their machines to either share the screen or watch content online. Additionally, the two doors that currently open into 1505 would be removed and the bottom wall in this image would be replaced with a fully glass wall and door. This allows everyone to see who is in the room, but also contains the noise that the room will generate. The back wall leading to NSH 1305 is concrete reinforced (basically soundproof) and the other walls would face the hallway and the lounge itself. The image on the right is an older version of the idea, which didn’t take into account the pillars that are present and immovable in the room.
Changes to the Kitchen
The kitchen will be getting a big upgrade. We will be replacing the old fridge and microwave and also getting a new dishwasher, sink, and toaster. We may also be getting a coffee machine and a filtered water machine like the 3rd and 4th floors if we can find students to be responsible for the machine’s upkeep. Other departments on campus have the same setup. The biggest changes to the kitchen area are the removal of the static island in the middle of the room and the addition of a bar along the wall. This bar would serve as a standing desk throughout the day, and as a serving table during PSRs. We also want to remove the carpet from the kitchen and have a nice hard surface finish instead. This would reduce the food stains and messes left over from PSRs.
Kitchen/Lounge Center Seating
A major recurring theme about the lounge is that there is only couches. We want to bring down the furniture from the 4th floor lounge space and spread it throughout the center area of the new lounge space. This allows for tables at which you can eat, play board games, do work, socialize, etc. The carpet would be replaced in this are of the lounge with new carpet. The tables and chairs can be reconfigured easily to accommodate any student activities in the space. The biggest item we are hoping to add to this area would be large garage doors which can open to outside. This not only lets in natural light which will improve the mood of the room, it will also allow us to open up to the FMS patio during PSRs if the weather is warm enough. There are plans to add a fixed awning on the outside of the lounge (think along the lines of the awning at the NSH main entrance) to provide shaded areas that do not result in umbrellas being blown away and broken.
Miniature Meeting Rooms
Since the 4th floor space is being taken away, we will be advocating for enclosed, miniature meeting rooms in the new RoboLounge. Ideally, we would like to have glass walls everwhere in these rooms except an opaque wall as the divider. A glass door will open from these areas. This will allow people to see who is inside the room and it will also allow light to flood the room easily. These rooms would be adept at blocking sound from the outside or preventing sound escaping from the inside. One of these rooms will be set up like a pure office meeting room, with a large desk and multiple chairs. The other room will have a more lounge feel to it, having two sofas and a coffee table. There will be TVs in both enclosed spaces which will allow for connections to machines through normal connections. We may also make a different console available in the sofa enclosed space such as a Nintendo Switch. These rooms are meant to allow students to find a quiet space to meet in groups for projects/research and to allow a group of students to hang out in a slightly more private setting. Importantly, the presence of these rooms will mean that the door to NSH 1513 will be removed. This has two benefits, 1) offices in that corridor will no longer here as much noise and 2) the lines for food at PSRs will be orderly and formed from the 1507 entrance and head towards the previously mentioned serving bar in the kitchen.
We want to have a permanent space dedicated to table tennis and Foosball use which will prevent us from having to carry around these items every time there is a PSR. Both are given ample space to allow for potentially intense gameplay. Additionally, the projector that is in NSH 1507 right now will be replaced with a digital projector and will throw directly onto the wall where there is currently a whiteboard (after the whiteboards are removed). This is probably safer than having another TV present right next to where things will be hit around during games. We want to have cable going to this projector as well as the other other 3 screens that will be in the lounge space.
Since we are absorbing NSH 1505 into the lounge space, we have been given permission to push the entrance door into the hallway, giving us a little bit of extra space. We want this extra space to house large trash receptacles to help keep the lounge clean as well as cubbies to house backpacks/jackets/etc from students who want to leave their stuff at the door. Near the entrance, we will also be planning on placing some furniture from the 4th floor lounge area, so there will be wheeled whiteboards and seating which can be shuffled around as students need.
The Plan for NSH 1501 (Department specified plans)
The cubicles on the first floor will be replaced with an enclosed conference room similar to 1505 which could be reserved through SCS. A large projector and screen for the room is going to be part of the pricing quote the department receives. There is also talk that there will be a audio and video conferencing system in the room. The printers would be removed from this area…I have not heard anything about where they might be relocated.
The Plan for NSH 4305/4303 (Department/Faculty specified plans)
The plan for this space is to mimic that of NSH 3305 but with major improvements. The walls separating these two rooms would be removed and two projectors would throw onto the south wall of the room (wall closest to PRL). This room would also get a nice podium capable of being shifted around the room depending on what type of talk the speaker is presenting. The room is also being quoted for a professional video and audio system to allow for seamless video calls. It sounds like the plan is to have a nice area to video conference with collaborators from around the world. There is also talk of raising the ceiling in the rooms in order to give the projectors a large enough distance to throw a big image at the two screens in the room. A mechanism to control the amount of light coming in from outside is also in the works (the way it was mentioned makes it sound more complicated than blinds). This would be a formal presentation room similar to the nicest rooms in Gates. As of now, only the AV meeting took place, so we are not aware of any other plans for the room (furniture etc.).
If you got to this point, thank you for reading up on what’s going on within NSH! Please share this information with your peers by linking them, or talking to them about the planned changes for NSH. We want to get the student body involved in the discussion for what changes we can make to our shared spaces. If you have any questions/comments/concerns or just want to get involved in the planning process, please contact your class representative.
AV Meeting takes place: We are waiting for the quote for the AV requirements for NSH 4305/4303, NSH 1501, and NSH 1513/1507/1505.