Centennial Hall officially opens its doors

Students react positively to the new campus addition

The start of UW-Eau Claire’s spring semester marked the official opening of its new education building Tuesday, nearly six years after production on the project began in 2008.

Many students wasted no time  utilizing the new facility and said they appreciated a number of the hall’s characteristics.

“I like the circle design, the classrooms look really nice and I like the seating here,” sophomore Dustin Kratcha said.

Senior Allison Puestow said she spent 20 minutes exploring the fourth floor.

“I like the openness and the brightness and all the windows,” she said. “It just makes it feel more welcoming.”

Gail Scukanec, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences and Chair of the Building Committee for Centennial Hall, said the hall’s classrooms were specifically designed around certain classroom and course needs the other halls are not able to accommodate.

“We didn’t have enough 60-seat classrooms, and 72-seat classrooms and larger,” Scukanec said. “So most of the classrooms in this building are designed to have enough space for those classes.”

Scukanec also said much of the building’s design resulted from the need to improve classroom interaction capabilities. To accomplish this, she said many of the hall’s active learning classrooms feature “pods” or work areas where a small group of students can collaborate together.

“For each pod there is a flat-screen TV that is hooked into the computer system and those pods are located around the classroom and the teaching station is in the middle,” Scukanec said. “The instructor can put something of their own up on the big-screen or they can take something from one of the student groups and put it up.”

Scukanec said she has received positive reactions from the campus community and has witnessed a number of students making use of the building.

However, she anticipates future changes will need to be made to best utilize the hall, specifically in how to accommodate students’ use of spaces.