The writing center and math lab at ASU’s Downtown campus have moved to the lower level of the U.S. Federal Post Office building after a $4.7 million renovation project, funded by a facilities fee for students in previous semesters.
The writing center moved from the main floor of the University Center at the beginning of the semester due to lack of space, said Lisa Cahill, associate director of university academic success programs for the Downtown campus.
“We outgrew the writing center space last year,” Cahill said. “The university acknowledged that and gave us this great opportunity to move to the lower level of the post office.”
Students will be able to use the larger space not only for tutoring, but also as an environment to write on their own or in groups, Cahill said.
“We want the writing center to be a place where any writer, from freshman to graduate student, can come and get feedback from an invested and interested tutor,” Cahill said. “Or if they want an environment to write, they should be able to come in and do that. We hope students will start to see us in that way.”
A new classroom space was built next door to the writing center to accommodate larger study sessions, rather than for traditional scheduled classes. Equipped with enough tables and whiteboard space, the classroom provides opportunity for large-group review and tutoring, Cahill said.
While the post office currently doesn’t have a heavy flow of student traffic like the University Center, Cahill said she isn’t worried about the new location.
“We’re pretty much at our normal pace, comparing our traffic patterns to last year,” Cahill said. “Regular users are continuing to seek us out, and we’re trying to get the word out, especially with freshmen.”
The previous writing center in the University Center is currently being renovated to expand the Barrett, the Honors College space.
The math lab also moved from the second floor of UCENT and is currently functional for all students taking math on the Downtown campus, said public service and public policy senior Marcus Jones, the student representative for the project.
The lab serves as a space for students to complete math assignments and tests alongside hired student tutors, Jones said.
An area with moveable desks was added to the new lab to allow more one-on-one tutoring for struggling students, according to Jones.
The high-tech classroom is nice as a study or review area, journalism major Frenchie Augustin said, but is a little excessive for a space where students work as if they’re on their “own little island.” She attends an in-person class once a week and her class requires her to be in the math lab every Thursday to practice the material at her own pace.
Augustin said the isolation of the space makes it less helpful than it would be if students were interacting with a professor.
“I would rather have more of a relationship with an actual professor than go through a computer,” she said. “It puts you in a position where you have to do it the way the computer wants you to and that can get a little difficult.”
The writing center has benefited from their math lab neighbor, Cahill said, as students have been able to see the new location and seek out its services.
The rest of the project is set to finish in January 2013, Jones said. A recreational lounge area with televisions and game tables, student organization centers and a new Changemaker Central are still being completed.
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