Cole Hall to host classes for the first time since shooting

By Hailey Kurth

Tuesday marks the first day in almost four years the rooms of Cole Hall will host classes.

The plan for the Cole Hall renovation started in March 2010. Workers were still there Friday, working on the finishing touches.

According to a fact sheet provided by Paul Palian, director of media and public relations, the renovation cost just under $6 million. The opening reception for the museum gallery and the official building opening is February 12, said Sara Pfannkuche, the interim museum director. The museum will be open to the public February 14.

The renovation included a complete interior makeover. The two auditoriums have been split into an auditorium that seats 351 students, a classroom lab, and an anthropology museum, Palian said. Tables with swivel chairs have replaced fold-up desks. Students can spin around to work with classmates behind them, Palian said.

Palian said the classroom lab is very high-tech. It serves 48 students and allows interaction between the instructor and the students via computer technology and touch-screen smart boards.

“It is an exciting state-of-the-art classroom,” said Spanish professor Debra Currere. “I have been saying if all others are ‘smart,’ this one is pure genius.”

Currere attended training for Cole Room 106 and said the technological capabilities will add another dimension to the curriculum. Currere is already assigned to the classroom, but said she would have requested it if possible.

Communication professor Jeffrey Chown said he has been teaching in Cole Room 100 since the fall of 1982. He said the university did a wonderful job of modernizing the auditorium and he is looking forward to teaching in it.

“I’ve seen it myself, and it’s awesome. It’s everything that you’d want,” Palian said. “It’s high-tech and also high-touch. It’s going to be a state of the art learning environment.”

According to the fact sheet, 14 classes are scheduled in Cole Hall this semester.

The anthropology museum is not yet open. Palian said they’ve received the materials for the new exhibit, and have started setting them up. Pfannkuche said the student workers return Tuesday.