Students, faculty beam over JSB



    After three years and $52 million, students and faculty have seen the light.

    ?The light in my office relaxes and inspires me,? said Robert Erickson, an assistant professor of French.

    The rays stream into the offices in the new Joseph F. Smith Building.

    Students and faculty finally experienced the JFSB when classes were first held Spring Term 2005.

    The 300,000 square-foot building houses the College of Humanities and part of the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences.

    The architecture and other aspects of the new building make it appealing to faculty and students.

    ?I like the design, definitely,? said Lindsay Huffman, a junior from Orem majoring in social work. ?I think the architecture is beautiful, my personal opinion.?

    FFKR, an architectural and design firm in Salt Lake City, designed the building. They have also worked on the Eyring Science Center and the Harold B. Lee Library.

    The building has 27 classrooms, over 400 offices, an auditorium and underground parking.

    Mark Burns, an associate professor in the College of Humanities, said the offices are a great benefit for the professors.

    ?The offices are fabulous: lots of desk space, lots of outlets and lots of bookshelves,? Burns said in an e-mail interview. ?They are pretty much a professor’s dream, I’d say, and completely thought-through from a professor’s perspective.?

    Michael Douglass, a pre-nursing major, also likes the offices.

    ?What I?ve really liked is all the shelves in all the professor?s offices,? he said. ?You can go in and it?s like a little mini library.?

    The building was designed so the offices would all have access to natural light. This idea is a great benefit for all in the building.

    ?In the old JKHB, I would sometimes go all day without seeing outside and would sometimes leave work at the end of the day only to find it had been snowing or raining for hours already,? Burns said. ?In the new JFSB, all the offices have access to outside, natural light and it gives the building a much airier, open, inviting feel.?

    Students also enjoy the windows as they can study in the foyers.

    ?I like the fact that there are so many windows,? said Sarah Dewsnup, a history major from Cleveland. ?When you?re not outside, you can enjoy the outside.?

    This is a health benefit to Huffman, she said.

    ?You get the sunlight, but you don?t have to get fried sitting outside,? she said.

    The light in the building provides a different aura, said Erickson.

    ?I love the light that enters from the alcoves in each hallway,? he said in an e-mail interview. ?The layout of the ground floor allows for a flood of light into the building.?

    There is a downside to the layout though, Burns said.

    ?Because the halls and the offices are so generously large, we do sacrifice a bit of contact between among faculty, I think. In the old humanities offices, one would often hear people in their offices, overhear conversations in the hall,? he said. ?Although I still think the new building is terrific in every way, its size has caused a certain loss in contact, communication, ongoing friendships between faculty, I think.?

    Douglass said he thinks the courtyard is also a problem with the design.

    ?I was kind of sad about all the concrete,? he said. ?There?s a lot of concrete out there, with little patches of lawn.?

    The atrium and spiral staircase may also be a downfall, said William Tortorelli, a visiting instructor.

    ?It’s a shame that the beautiful atrium/vestibule area isn’t used by anyone,? he said in an e-mail interview. ?Its lovely stairway is mostly too impractical for getting upstairs.?

    The building?s location is a great benefit to Huffman, she said.

    ?It?s just easy access?, she said. ?It?s right there by the library; I don?t have to go trekking all over for my classes.?

    The newness of the building also makes it better for education, Huffman said.

    ?All the rooms have the technology,? she said. ?The rooms that I?ve been in have the computers and have the projectors. They seem like they?re updated and can provide better service in general than just a room with desks in it.?

    Because it is new, the JFSB seems to have an organized air, Burns said.

    ?It also appears that we may not be able to post things on our doors in the new building, which I think is a great loss to the students and the university,? Burns said. ?Often the political or university-related postings and quotes were not only informative and often hilarious, but also a way for students to get a sense of the personality and concerns of the faculty. ? I think the obvious gain in the overall neatness of the building will not compensate for the loss of learning which may be sacrificed.?

    This issue has been discussed as controversy arose about flyers that were allowed in the JKHB. They are not allowed in the new JFSB.

    Huffman said she thinks the flyers would be out of place in the new building.

    ?I don?t think they would fit necessarily,? she said. ?I just think there would be more of a bulletin board you would go to. I?m not sure, but it just seems that that?s the way it should be rather than tearing the paint off the walls. I would prefer to keep it that way.?

    Despite the few problems, most people said the building is a great asset to the College of Humanities and the students and faculty at BYU.

    ?I consider it a blessing to be in the new building,? Erickson said. ?I am grateful to the donors and to the university for making this beautiful work environment possible.?

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