As King's Expands, Study Space Should Too

 Photo courtesy of Wikepedia

Photo courtesy of Wikepedia

The opinions reflected in this OpEd are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of staff, faculty and students of The King's College

 

The King’s College prides itself on academic rigor and intellectual depth, requiring all students to take classes in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. These classes often cumulatively require hundreds of pages of dense reading each week.

In this regard, King’s showcases its commitment to academic excellence. Unfortunately, the college falls short in providing a study environment for students to succeed academically.

King’s has a student body of nearly 550 students. According to the school librarian Christina Rogers, the library has approximately 40 seats.

This means that just over seven percent of the student body has designated study space.

There were roughly 20 seats at the tables along the library hall. Assuming a bar will be installed with an equivalent number of seats soon, still less than 11 percent of the student body will have a dedicated study space.

The Lion’s Den added roughly twenty more seats but it is not a quiet space.

Even these numbers are misleading. Often only the corners and back spaces of the library are truly distraction-free as many students--myself included at times--use the space to hang out and talk. This is not to say that the solution to the lack of study space is to enforce a strict code of silence in existing spaces. King’s suffers from a lack of space to gather as a community across the board.

This means that just over seven percent of the student body has designated study space.

In past years with a smaller student body, students could slip into classrooms or desk nooks in the 5th floor faculty area over lunch for informal quiet space. With more students and events than ever before and the expansion of offices on the 5th floor, even fewer spaces are available during regular school hours.

Sometimes students seek refuge in the Student Union, but it is often booked for events--especially over lunch. It also lacks sound proofing, projecting any conversation or noise across the space. The old Council’s office in the Student Union was converted into quiet study space last semester, but adding a dozen or so extra seats is barely a band-aid solution.

The announcement of the new housing in Brooklyn with four people to a two bedroom offers the chance for apartments to become better study spaces than the current four person per studio arrangements. However, it also means that students would have to commute to Brooklyn for study space during lunch and between classes. Quiet space is needed the most during crunch times, where students often need to finish assignments and readings before class.

When prospective students ask about space, they are often told “New York is our campus.” While students have access to the New York Public Library system, unless you’re willing to make the trip to the Rose Room most branches are less than ideal study spaces. The branch closest to King’s is by City Hall, an inconvenient commute during crunch times. The branches are also public spaces that fail to offer the mental security and the quiet of private dedicated space. On top of that, most branches are only open till 7 pm and some close as early as 5 pm.

King’s suffers from a lack of space to gather as a community across the board.

As the student body grows each year, this problem will only get worse. The admissions department is working to grow the student body to at least 1000 students. Nick Swedick, Director of Student Life, said that the administration is working off an estimate that current facilities can accommodate roughly 800 students. In the coming years, less and less students will have dedicated on campus study space unless King’s takes action.

The college’s purchase of real estate offers the opportunity to potentially expand study space options for the students. If the school successfully buys the Greenwich street location, administration will have the option to build out and renovate the building’s basement. No doubt adding amenities for the students who have to live in the building will be a priority, but perhaps study rooms open to all students could be added as well.

At a liberal arts school that prides itself on reading the great works of the ages, dedicated study space is a necessity, not a luxury. It is exciting that King’s is in the process of purchasing real estate and attempting to become more financially stable. As the school navigates these changes, the administration needs to prioritize significantly increasing on-campus study spaces for students.