Worcester basement to undergo renovations during break

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By Jacob Schaperow, editor-in-chief, @jschap1

The basement of Worcester Hall undergoes renovations this semester and during winter break. Residential Facilities plans to open the basement for the spring 2015 semester as a lounge space for students.

The basement of Worcester Hall undergoes renovations this semester and during winter break. Residential Facilities plans to open the basement for the spring 2016 semester as a lounge space for students. Photo courtesy of Akiva Futter.

Formerly open to all university students as a 24-hour study space, the Worcester basement will be converted into a “multipurpose lounge space,” according to an Oct. 8 email from the Department of Residential Facilities to Worcester residents. Primary demolition work began in mid-October, and the lounge is expected to be open for the spring 2016 semester.

The goal of the project is to turn the Worcester basement back into student and resident space following its close last semester, Assistant Director of Residential Facilities Gregg Feige said. The current plan is for the east side of the basement to have a flexible arrangement of tables and chairs that could be moved around as needed, and the west side of the basement will have soft seating, he said.

Known fondly by students as “the WAM Lab,” the former computer lab housed workstations with multiple monitors, a printer and café-like tables in the northwest corner. Residential Facilities closed the lab at the end of the spring 2016 semester, along with the computer lab in the basement of Regents Parking Garage.

With the computer lab closed, some would-be WAM Lab users are making the trip to nearby McKeldin Library to find a place to study.

Worcester resident Moshe Hollander said he would look for “media services” in a lounge space.

“Like video game consoles, cable TV, if we’re going all out,” the junior aerospace engineering major said. Hollander said he currently goes to McKeldin Library if he needs a quiet space to study, but anticipates that he would study in the basement lounge.

The lounge will have a kitchenette with a microwave, sink and refrigerator, similar to those in the North Campus high-rise residence halls. Kitchen and laundry room upgrades for the other side of the Worcester basement are planned for later in 2016, according to the Residential Facilities email.

The basement lounge will be open to Worcester residents 24/7 and may be open to other North Hill residents when Resident Life events take place in the space, Feige said.

In the past, students had to use the external door underneath the residence hall’s front entrance to get into the WAM Lab, but the renovated lounge space will be accessible from inside the building as well. One door is located in the resident wing and the other connects to the housekeeping and laundry area on the southeast side of the building. Sabbath key access to the lounge will also be provided.

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