A rather funny phenomenon exists on the UMBC campus. As you walks further and further up Hilltop Circle, the architectural structures gradually get nicer and nicer. Though the University erected the beautifully designed and well-structured Performing Arts and Humanities Building a few years ago, many of the other academic facilities on campus are in need of some remodeling. Buildings such as Sondheim Hall and Sherman Hall have started to show their age, not just in design, but also in wear and tear.
In Sondheim Hall, it seems practically impossible to find a room that appears well maintained. The chalkboards all have a grainy and harsh appearance; the sheen on the desks has long disintegrated; the bricks that are starting to crumble around the edges.
The large lecture hall in Sherman Hall feels up-to-date, but the rest of the rooms have suffered a similar fate to the ones in Sondheim.
The rooms on the first floor of the Math and Psychology building seem almost as well kept as those in the much newer Public Policy Building, but on every other floor, Math/Psych’s age becomes clear.
Many students believe it’s time for these buildings to receive some of the care that other buildings, such as the Fine Arts Building, have seen over the years. “The rooms look really old and could definitely use some improvements,” said Lawrence Shirriel, a junior economics major. Shirriel emphasized the university should look into renovating these buildings so that they stay on the same level of aesthetic pleasure as that of other buildings further up the circle.
Having only been on campus for a few months, freshman biology major Carolle Isaacs hasn’t had any classes in the older buildings, although she has seen the state of these old UMBC classics. “The buildings are old and smell,” said Isaacs, although she did note that she preferred the Math and Psychology building to the Fine Arts building. Nevertheless, Isaacs feels that the university “should do the same [renovations] to the Math/Psych building that they’ve done to the other, newer buildings.”
The state of these buildings may seem relatively important, but many students don’t consider this too much of an issue. Chris Gruneke, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, said that, while he doesn’t like the small amount of space that the lecture halls in Sherman and Meyerhoff provide, as he has long legs, he “[doesn’t] really care” about the buildings receiving any renovations, finding that they serve their purpose of providing a room for learning relatively well.
The state of academic buildings hasn’t reached the point to where they disrupt the learning process taking place in the classrooms. However, maybe it’s time for the university to invest some of that construction time it’s so well known for into these older structures.
UMBC Facilities Management was unavailable for a response.