A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to take a tour of the new Jamrich building that is currently under construction on the campus of Northern Michigan University.
As an alumna I was obviously curious about the new building and what it looked liked on the inside. After taking that tour all I can say is that I'm very excited and the current and future students of NMU should be too.
I was taken on a tour with a co-worker by Jim Thams, the Associate Director of Engineering and Planning/Grounds at NMU. He showed us basically every inch of the new building and answered any questions we had.
The tour was an amazing opportunity to see the inside of this huge building and I think the students and professors are going to love it. From the Jamrich 102 replacement to the bigger lecture halls to the small classrooms, I was excited to see it all, and was also jealous of the future students at NMU.
The new Jamrich building has three floors and five informal learning spaces, or as I'm sure students will come to see them as, five hangout lounges. The biggest space is on the first floor and has two-story windows to let in natural light. I truly believe that these lounges will be the new meeting spot for students and a new place to study.
I only graduated about two years ago and when I was at NMU if there was a place I needed to meet a study group or a student for an interview for the student newspaper it was always the lower level of the Learning Resource Center in the Starbucks lounge. I think once Starbucks has moved to the new Jamrich and the building is open for business, students will find the informal learning spaces are a great place to meet. I think this will be especially true for groups because some of the spaces will have large flatscreen TVs that will allow students to hook up their laptops to and do work on the big screens. I know I wish I had that when I was a student.
This new Jamrich building will be a wonderful replacement for the current Jamrich building, and I don't think the old one will be missed. As an English major, I spent most of my days sitting in classrooms in Jamrich. Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't a horrible experience, but it wasn't exactly the greatest either.
The worst part I think was the temperature, which always felt like 100 degrees no matter what time of the year, and that fact that the chairs in the lecture halls were fixed, which made it very hard to do group work or even feel comfortable in such a confining chair. According to Thams, the tables in the larger lecture halls will still be fixed, like in the current Jamrich, but the chairs will not, allowing them to be moved freely throughout the classrooms, making it more group friendly.
As I walked through the unfinished building, I could almost see how the finished product would look and see the students really enjoying being there. I know I can't wait to see the finished, polished product, and I hope the students feel the same way because this building will definitely be an amazing addition to NMU's campus.
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