The big move is almost here

The big move is almost here


The new education building’s construction is almost done, just in time for the spring 2014 semester.  Professors in education studies, English, foreign languages and special education are now packing up their knickknacks and special relics from home in anticipation of their move into Centennial Hall.

The academic departments will be able to move into the new building over winter break.  Professors have had the chance to tour the building and see their future office locations as well.

French professor Jessica Miller has taught at UW-Eau Claire for seven years and has been in the same office on the third floor of Hibbard since her Eau Claire career began. When it comes to Centennial Hall as a whole, she is looking forward to more room for the language department.

“The big thing I’m excited for is space, especially for my colleagues,” Miller said. “Right now, I have colleagues who are sharing open space, so they don’t have any privacy when meeting with students.”

The foreign language department will be sharing space with the English department. English professor José Alvergue has had one semester to get comfortable in his office on the fourth floor of Hibbard.  But when it comes to his work space, Alvergue believes less is more.

“I’m very excited to move in, so to speak,” Alvergue said.  “Everything seems bigger in there, but that could just be because right now everything’s empty. Everything is very airy. But we don’t really require a lot of room. A desk to sit at is all I ask.”

Alvergue said even though the English department is moving, some English classes are staying in Hibbard. But he’s not worried about students finding him for outside help.

“Most students don’t even know how to get to the fourth floor (of Hibbard), so I think if students need to find me, they’ll find me no matter what building I’m in.”

However, Miller said she has concerns about students just dropping by her office once she moves to the new education building.  She said the larger lecture classrooms she saw during her tour are not geared toward language learning, so most language classes will still be taught in Hibbard.

“The drawback is that we will probably get fewer students who just walk in or stop by with questions,” Miller said. “I do a lot of student communication that way.”

Children and adolescent literature professor Robert Reid said the education studies department is already boxing up supplies in preparation for the move.

“We’re very excited,” Reid said. “My office will actually be smaller, but it’ll be newer and more up-to-date.   The classrooms are going to be so much nicer.  They look pretty state-of-the-art.”

Reid has been a professor at Eau Claire since 1996 and has bounced around four different offices in Brewer Hall.  Reid said he’s always competing for the one available classroom in Brewer and ends up walking back and forth across campus to get to his classes.

“Having our offices in the same building as the classrooms is a huge advantage, especially for someone like me who teaches children’s literature,” Reid said.  “I have to haul tons of physical material back and forth.”

Reid said he is also looking forward to being closer to the special education department, as they often collaborate together, and the close proximity will make that easier for both departments.

One thing Reid does not like about the new education building is its name. He said Centennial makes sense, but it’s boring.

The name of the building may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Reid said the new, modern building will reflects UW-Eau Claire’s teaching roots.

“The teaching program is the oldest program on campus since the school started as a teaching college,” Reid said. “And this new building is recognizing the worth of education as a department.”

Students will get to form their own conclusions about Centennial Hall when spring semester classes start.