The Providence campus continues to undergo improvements as the year progresses. While the bulk of the work happens in the summer when students are not on campus, this year there are also improvements being made during the school year. Last summer, Providence expanded into newly renovated spaces in Townsend Hall, where the rooms are arranged in quads–four two-person rooms with a shared bathroom. Not only did each room get a facelift, but the inner courtyard and the student lounge of Townsend were redone as well, creating both beautiful and functional additional spaces for students to spend time outside of classes and their residence hall rooms.
There has been a lot of discussion about “third spaces” at Providence in the last few years. What is a third space, you ask? Third spaces are “otherwise areas” on campus away from the disruptions of resident rooms and the confines of a classroom. Research shows that students have environmental needs that need to be met for optimum studying. Not having a stable and comfortable study space can lead to bad study habits and a longer time-frame to complete assignments. One of the priorities that President Jim Belcher has is creating more of these third spaces for Providence students on campus.
“These spaces for students are not only essential to better study habits, but they are also essential to developing community on our campus. As a young college, Providence is still in the process of building a campus culture. A big part of Providence culture has always been community connectedness, so we want to insure that there are places for that to continue growing here. Some of the most important conversations that happen in the life of a college student are in casual discussion and discourse with fellow students, faculty and staff over coffee or meals or while hanging out. Since so many of our students live on campus, we want to make their home as beautiful, functional and communally encouraging as possible.”.
To that end, two different “third space” projects were launched during the school year. The first was a complete renovation of the game room located in Alyward Residence Hall. Walls and mailboxes were removed, rebuilt, and repainted to create a large open space for students. The small kitchen area was redone with new appliances and new pool tables and snack and drink machines were installed. Perhaps the most noticeable change is the new furniture, which provides comfort and durabilty in signature Providence colors.
Major improvements and work are ongoing in the middle of campus right between the Dining Hall and the Speer Administration building. The Lower Pierce courtyard has been largely unused space up to this point but work is underway to hardscape the area. After the hardscape and landscaping are complete, there will be new tables, chairs, and umbrellas installed to seat approximately 100 people. This will function not only as overflow for the dining hall but also a beautiful outside courtyard for Providence students, faculty and staff to spend time meeting, studying and conversing while taking advantage of the beautiful California weather. Fall 2016 plans for the space include a coffee bar, and currently a Providence student is doing a business plan for the coffee bar as a part of his senior capstone. Longer term plans include not only a coffee bar, but a snack bar as well.