By August 2002, the newly-renovated St. Mary’s Hall will house Nursing and Health Studies classrooms and faculty offices, as well as a common area for students and the new home of University Information Services, which presently occupy offices in 17 different locations.

Beginning in 1996, the renovation of St. Mary’s under University Architect Alan Brangman has been a joint effort by NHS and UIS.

“The project has been a great opportunity to partner with UIS on technological initiatives,” NHS Executive Director ichael Bergin said.

UIS is building a computer classroom, similar to Dubin in Lauinger Library, on the ground floor of St. Mary’s. Since much of the NHS curriculum involves Internet-based research, both groups will benefit by sharing the space. There will also be two computer labs on the ground floor, one for NHS and one for UIS.

St. Mary’s was originally built in 1956 as a joint dormitory and classroom facility. It is now being completely renovated and will be not available for use until next August. Bergin said the renovation has been able to proceed rapidly because it is entirely internal, utilizing the H-shaped layout already in place.

The building’s 69,699 square feet of space has been divided between NHS and UIS. NHS will occupy the first floor, housing registrar-owned classrooms and a common area.

“The main focus of the renovation plans is a student common area. Our goal is to attract students from all schools in order to interact with each other and see what NHS is all about,” Bergin said.

The construction of this common area has been made possible by the recent $1 million gift of Betty Casey, a local philanthropist and friend of the university. This area will be a comfortable one in which students may casually meet and relax between classes. There will be computers for checking E-mail and possibly an Uncommon Grounds cart.

Another major goal was to open up St. Mary’s “to make it more of a community building than an institutional building,” as defined by Bergin. As a result, all NHS faculty and staff offices will have individual windows. On the first floor, there will be a classroom with tiered seating to allow for more interaction between students and professors.

The second floor will be the new location of all NHS faculty and staff offices. These offices are now dispersed among four locations.

“It’s been quite a challenge to maintain operations being all spread out,” Bergin said.

Gus, a $150,000 research dummy controlled by Sun Microsystems, Inc. which can replicate any human condition, is located in the Pre-clinical Science Building. Donated by the Parents’ Council, it is a teaching instrument for both undergraduate and graduate students. At the end of the renovation, he will be moved to the ground floor of St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s will be a more conducive environment for utilizing Gus, as there will be a separate control room and a discussion room.

The third and fourth floors will house UIS and allow for centralization of its offices.

A unique feature of the renovated St. Mary’s is a meditation room oriented toward all faiths. A quiet space for students and faculty will be located on the first floor.

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