Change with the Times

Several weeks ago, Mrs. Chase announced the decision to renovate Pearson Hall, the venerable home to the classics department, and transform it into a modern student center. The proposal calls for the addition of a third floor to Pearson Hall and an extra wing to Bulfinch to accommodate the classics department. Though the majority of the ideas included in the proposal are worthy of consideration, the plan of execution such an enormous task appears to be flawed. One of the major points of contention regarding the proposal is purely nostalgic; the classics experience at Andover is significantly more memorable because of the fitting ambience of Pearson. That said, we cannot ignore the simple fact that Pearson is in desperate need of renovation. The heating system is outdated, and while the desks may be great (who doesn’t like seeing signatures from the class of 1923?), it can be frustrating to sit in uncomfortable or even broken seats while using cut up desks. There should be little debate about the necessity of a Pearson makeover to alleviate the structural failures. At the same time, the idea of a student center in such a central location on campus seems like a great boost for the academy. The campus environment would greatly improve from the addition of a new facility dedicated to relaxing and socializing. The Library really isn’t the right place to congregate, and while Ryley is a relatively good place, it certainly has faults, primarily being underground, small, and not providing much beyond food. However, the complications involved using Pearson as the student center make the whole project more trouble than it’s worth. The idea of moving the Classics Department to a wing of Bullfinch is absurd. The English department is already full and is currently the largest on campus. To further add chaos and indeed increase its size would only serve to aggravate the problem rather than rectify it. The English department could use a renovation and a larger building with or without this new plan, and moving Classics to Bullfinch would not be the only incentive to do so. The plan put forth to the school does contain some excellent ideas, however. A Community Center for students and faculty to gather in such a central place of campus is great, if only just to help the library serve its purpose of a work location more effectively. Again this could be adjusted to better suit the school as a whole. Such an idea better serves the needs of the Academy, as many, myself included, have doubts about how beneficial faculty mailboxes in the Community Center would really be. A larger Ryley would also provide enough space to serve what people need. The facility could house anything from a small store to a larger lounge area, without the costs associated with using an entire building. The school should renovate Pearson, but instead of turning it into a community center, simply redesign it so it can better serve the the Classics Department. The high ceilings and other works in the building are campus treasures, and should be protected as such. The best idea would be to move some of the desks into a museum or gallery on campus, for while they are sentimental, they are no longer practical. Pearson remains a symbol of the Classics at Andover, and indeed the atmosphere it provides is conducive to such a department. While the building is in desperate need of a renovation, the current plan to do so is simply not the proper way to go about it, and should be taken back to the drawing board. Thankfully, the Administration seems open to opinion and input, and everyone on campus should seize the opportunity to voice their thoughts.