The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Parenzo Renovations take charge

The entrance to Westfield State with Parenzo Hall peeking out in the foreground. Image credit- Westfield State University.

WESTFIELD, MA-  Westfield State University is planning to renovate Parenzo Hall in the next year or two, due to the fact that Parenzo is the oldest building on campus and most in need of renovations.

Parenzo Hall, the first building on our Westfield campus is going to be replaced by a Co-Lab ( a state of the art laboratory section for the sciences and a Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE), with collaborative learning centers and offices, along with Dever Auditorium. 

The plans for this renovation estimates that the buildings will be done by 2023/2024, which is perfect for incoming classes. 

“The classrooms are meant to be more active learning classrooms..” said  Dr. Emily Todd, Chair of the English department who also had a part of the renovations being the chair of the academics working groups.  

This is a huge deal for our campus as these two centers will be costly (with former Governor Baker granting $20 mil.) but will also bring new learning outreaches like collaborative learning and a hub for all of the student learning needs like the Honors Center and the Office of the Registrar. 

 With all of these renovations, it’s safe to say that students are left a bit confused. Many upperclassmen remember Parenzo for its Registar, Political Science and Education classes or Dever Stage, where many great performances were held. 

But the thing that confuses students most is the change of the mailroom; from Parenzo Hall to Banacos Center (where tutoring used to be held). 

A transfer student explains their frustration about the mailroom change: 

“I do get notifications about mail (when I get mail in the mail room) and I find it really intriguing that they still have the notification set as Parenzo,… I spent 15 minutes devising how I was going to get into the (now closed) building” Ian Arnone, junior transfer student said. 

“I think if the whole building is going to be knocked down, the notifications should be changed to something helpful (regarding the mail room and Parenzo)” Arnone later said. 

This is not a random occurrence- many students were perplexed about the changes of things like the mailroom, and also the transformation of Scanlon Hall, a former residence hall. 

“When I was at orientation, I stayed in Scanlon Hall (when it was a residence hall)”, Derrick Harnish, senior student said.

Students whose major was housed in Parenzo have their classes now in Scanlon Hall. This change was needed because there was nowhere else for these majors to go, but it wasn’t completely a smooth transition. 

“It almost feels like we’re visitors in that building if that makes any sense”, Emily Frost, Political Science senior said. 

But, the majority reaction to Parenzo renovations are positive. These renovations were long overdue, and it could possibly show students that they are capable of many things, even being an honors student.

“I’ve been in classes where the ceiling tiles have started to fall off and windows that either were stuck closed or open” Frost said. 

As for what the centers will include, there will be much more of a modern feel with things like more open spaces and moveable classrooms. 

“Tables that you can move around, chairs that you can move around, monitors.. There’s going to be a seminar room,… a lecture capture room great for hybrid classes…also open spaces like Nettie Stevens”,  Dr. Emily Todd said, with a huge smile on her face. 

Programs like the Banacos center and the Honors program will also now be hosted in the new learning centers. 

“We will see students that can see themselves as honors students,”Professor Diana, director of the Honors Center explained. 

She then explained that since the honors program is no longer off the beaten path (Mod Hall), students will now have easier access and may even pass by it on their way to class. 

Parenzo Hall was built in 1956, as the first building on Westfield State’s now infamous campus. As of right now, it is currently closed for said renovations.

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