by Alaura Robinson
UTC students and faculty have mixed feelings about Lupton Library’s transformation into Lupton Hall.
In 2015, State Building Commission members provided $2 million for renovation pre-planning and upgrades to the Fine Arts Center. The total project estimate is around $40 million.
The 1974 building, named after Thomas Cartter and Margaret Rawlings Lupton, is now set to host more than 40,000 square feet of classrooms and student services.
Dr. Brian J. O’Leary, Psychology department head, expressed his concerns regarding his department’s initial planned move to Lupton Hall.
“The Lupton Building design included the use of ‘ambient’ light, with no offices having a view of the outside world. There is a plethora of research supporting the importance of windows and direct sunlight to employee psychological health,” said O’Leary
The first floor will include the Women’s Center, Multicultural Center and offices serving international students. The College of Arts and Sciences will move into the second and third floors.
Departments moving into the building will benefit from its geographical position on campus, noted O’Leary. It has a central location which provides a more welcoming destination for students.
Although the structure’s location provides easy access for students, some would rather have seen the building transformed into something other than a new hall.
“I feel like it’s sort of useless because it was a parking garage and parking is way more of an issue than office spaces,” said Victoria Chavers, a senior political science major.
Although it will no longer serve as student parking, Lupton Hall will house classrooms designated “Technology Enabled Active-Learning/Student-Centered Active Learning Environments” which will double as lecture halls ranging from 42 to over 200 seats.
In a 2014 report, a university Lupton Repurposing Committee observed that UTC had only three classrooms in the 101- to 200-seat range. Only five provide more than 200 seats.
The new facility is expected to transform from a vacant library into a high-traffic student hub, with classes in communication, modern and classical languages, philosophy and more.
Other upgrades to the facility include sound technology, lighting, new technology systems, and more.
More information on the Lupton library renovation is available on UTC’s construction project website.