President Rebecca Stoltzfus is changing more than just the campus atmosphere — both Newcomer 19 and the Union building will be renovated during her 18 months as president.The announcement of the renovations was first made public at an all faculty and staff meeting on Feb. 12. Newcomer 19 and the Union’s makeovers fall under one of the many institutional commitments President Stoltzfus originally presented in her “Strategic Vision, Priorities and Actions” meeting on Jan. 22.
Ken Newbold, Goshen College provost, is in charge of both renovations.
The hope for Newcomer 19 is to transform the former chapel space into a “flexible” classroom and community space. Currently the space is used for occasional events like GSWA’s Chocolate House, Student Leadership summits, and the like.
Newbold said, “It’ll be an update of the existing space to make it more open and accommodating for a variety of activities.”
Ideally, Newcomer 19 will become a classroom setting for larger, more active courses. Furniture, such as tables and chairs, will be moveable and technology will be advanced for compatible use with student’s iPads.
“Given the size of the room,” Newbold said, “it will be able to host some larger class sections and some flexible teaching and group work.”
One of the largest classrooms on campus is Ad. 28 — a tiered lecture hall. Newbold said the renovated Newcomer space won’t be like anything GC students are used to. One of the main reasons of utilizing the spacious classroom is to make room for the ever-growing Goshen College population.
“With enrollment growth over the past couple of years,” Newbold said, “we have more students — more students mean bigger sections of classes and that means we need a bigger space.”
While Newcomer is mostly home to courses in the English, communication and business departments, classes from all disciplines will be able to set up camp in Newcomer 19.
The vision of the new Newcomer space will be brainstormed by a small committee made up of faculty and staff. Their first meeting will take place shortly after spring break.
Newbold and Jo-Ann Brant, dean of academics, will act as co-chairs. Other committee members include: Andrew Hartzler, associate professor of accounting, Jessica Baldanzi, associate professor of English, Kyle Hufford, 5 Core Media manager, Anna Kurtz Kuk, associate professor of theater, Jan Kauffman, registrar, Michael Sherer, director of graduate and continuing studies, and Glenn Gilbert, director of facilities.
Arlin Hunsberger, Goshen College Director Emeritus of International Education and his wife Naomi Hunsberger have generously given Goshen College a donation to go towards the Union renovation — or what President Stoltzfus will called a “campus commons.”
The renovation will be split into what is called “Phase Two” and “Phase Three.” Phase One is the already-existing admissions office.
Phase Two will include the renovation of the hallway leading outside of the Leaf Raker — including the Goshen College’s radio station, The Globe, and the commuter lounge. Phase Three will include the eventual upheaval of the old Union gym — a space that has sat dormant for years, collecting dust and obsolete technology.
Phase Two will be done in approximately 18 months. Although Phase Three is also a priority, it’s taking a backseat while Phase Two is getting the most attention. However, Newbold said there is a chance that the two phases might happen in parallel.
The plan, although quite tentative at the moment, hopes to update the Leaf Raker, bring in comfy seating, feature one of the largest Haitian collections of art donated by the Hunsbergers, along with other potential ideas.
Newbold said he hopes the new Union will create a connection to the broader Goshen community.
“We want to make it a welcoming and desirable place for not just the Goshen College community,” Newbold said.
Corie Steinke, associate director of community life, was one of the first staff members to hear about the new Union and was quite excited to hear so.
“A student union would be an incredible, positive and joyful addition to community life,” Steinke said. “It would be a great place for all students to connect with each other that wouldn’t seem to belong to one student population more than the other. It’d be a place for all students to fully participate in their college experience together.”
The committee will be chaired by Newbold and Gilbert and another faculty member. Other members include: Hufford, Regina Shands Stoltzfus, assistant professor of PJCS, Gilberto Perez, dean of students, Cynthia Good Kauffmann, director of events, Linda VanderBosch, associate director of admissions, Paul Housholder, associate director of ITS, Todd Yoder, major gift officer, representatives from both AVI and Follett, and four students — two residential, two commuters.