New Humanities Building open for classes, offices

By Lana Groves, Asst. News Editor

As students were preparing to rush back to class for the start of the Fall Semester, philosophy professor Lex Newman was just finishing his move into the new Tanner Humanities Building.

Newman said he is glad for the move because the new building has better heating and air conditioning than his previous office in OSH, but he wishes they could have made the transition sooner.

“I think the building (is) fantastic, but because of delays, here we are in the start of the semester and it’s not complete,” Newman said.

The Humanities Building, which is located east of the LNCO Building, will house faculty from the history, philosophy and international studies departments, as well as the Tanner Humanities Center.

The new building opened a week late due to manufacturing problems with the glass work on the main staircase.

The glass broke during delivery and the building inspector did not think it was safe for use until the piece had been replaced, said Heidi Camp, assistant dean for the College of Humanities.

Despite the delay, Camp said the building will be a “treasure” for faculty to work in together.

“They’re (now) in a state-of-the-art building,” she said. “We have faculty now that can talk with their peers. (It is a) much more collegial set up with more library spaces and lots of common public space so students can talk.”

Troy North, site manager, said the construction crew managed to complete the building in the set period of time despite having to add an extra floor upon request.

“Near the end of the design plans, they asked us to add a fourth floor, which we added without an extension to the project (timetable),” North said.

Contractors finished the building very close to schedule compared to other projects on campus, Camp said.

“It’s one of the few buildings on campus that has gone up as fast as it has,” she said. “These guys have been so fabulous. They’re there all day long (to push) everything through.”

Camp also said contractors stayed right on track with the $16 million budget.

The 52,000 square foot building will be officially announced at the ribbon cutting Oct. 3.

Newman said he can’t speak for the rest of the philosophy department, but that he likes the new location.

“Having to start school today (was frustrating), but that’s one of those circumstances that happens,” he said. “We now all have good heating, air conditioning and fantastic lobbies.”

The move from OSH to the new Humanities Building was not a big difference for philosophy professors, but faculty from the history department are excited about the change.

“It’s good because the overall location is more central on campus and I’m closer to colleagues in other departments like philosophy and those in LNCO and OSH,” said Peter von Sivers, a history professor. “We had our classrooms all on the upper (part of lower) campus. It was all uphill with my laptop and my bag.”

The history department was originally located at Carlson Hall, which is situated between Rice-Eccles Stadium and the S.J. Quinney College of Law.

“The (history) department now has nice seminar and conference rooms, and it’s so much easier to park,” he said. “Parking in the back is much more convenient than the football stadium or, heaven forbid, parking behind Carlson (Hall).”

However, von Sivers said office space is much smaller than a lot of faculty in the history department are used to.

“Carlson Hall was always very isolated, but we used to have closets and lots of space,” he said.

Glenn Olsen, a medieval history professor, said he is also disappointed with his new office space, but understands why it’s smaller.

“The university has to build to certain regulations and (Carlson Hall) was built before those regulations,” he said. “The new offices are only half the size of our old ones, which used to be dorms for women.”

Olsen said he does like the location, but misses the old building’s charm and appeal.

Von Sivers also said he was surprised with how the architectural design turned out.

“I’m not opposed to modern buildings8212;they’re physically more convenient,” he said. “But this building is not at all attractive in terms of its shape and the building materials, though once you step inside the atrium it is very nice.”

The new building was designed with three different types of brick and concrete on the exterior. The building also comes with an outdoor meditative labyrinth and the Lorna Matheson Memorial Gardens.

Camp said the building will also be environmentally friendly.

“A lot of attention was paid to how light works in the building,” she said. “(There will be) tons of natural light with windows from floor to ceiling in all of those public spaces.”

Faculty and students will be able to buy food in the building from the first floor café owned by Tony Caputo, who also owns the Tony Caputo’s Market and Deli downtown.

Contractors have placed artwork from nationally renowned artist Pilar Pobil and other artists throughout the building.

Camp said they will be adding a glass mobile art piece that will hang from the second story.

Finishing touches are still being added to the building and construction workers will continue to check air conditioning systems and electrical work for another few weeks.

The department of economics will be moving into the vacated office space in OSH sometime in the spring or summer of 2009, said Bruce Gillars, director of central campus space planning.

Gillars said they have not yet decided what will happen to Carlson Hall.

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Lucas Isley

The new Tanner Humanities building was not finished on time but it has better features for staff members that are moving from OSH.