A set of double doors with a 1 1/2-foot gap in the wall in between them, leading to the same hallway. Classrooms that can only be accessed by going on a small section of the roof. Exposed HVAC ducts in nearly every hallway. The external fire escape? Conveniently located in the restrooms. This is the Drexel Main Building.
When I walk into the main entrance of Drexel’s Main Building, into the large and majestic atrium, I am filled with a sense that, yes, I made the right choice for college. Yes, I am in fact getting what I paid for. Yes, I will get an education at least as good as those elitist Ivy Leaguers across the street and a job to boot. And the exterior, a fine example of eclectic architecture from the late 19th century, gives one a sense that Drexel has some history behind it.
If only the rest of the building were as good!
Students have complained about the maze that is the conglomeration of the Main Building, Randell Hall and Curtis Hall ever since I arrived here, and probably for long time before that as well. Teachers and students alike get lost and confused in its multitude of corridors, fooled by misleading exit signs and confusing room numbering. Hallways twist and turn through the buildings with no apparent rhyme or reason, seeming to form impossible geometries. Every time I go down a corridor that I haven’t been down before (which is frequently, because there are so many of them), I half-expect to run into some kind of portal to some strange other dimension, presumably populated by giant man-eating land-squids with 40 eyes, which was formed by the convoluted patterns of hallways and classrooms in the building. Quite frankly, the whole affair is somewhat disturbing.
What I am saying, ultimately, is that those three buildings are in urgent need of a renovation. Not just a “Well we’ll upgrade the HVAC system and put in new electrics” kind of renovation, but a “Let’s gut the place and redo the entire thing” kind of renovation. They need a renovation that will restore a sense of order to the place while preserving their historic aspects that make them unique. They need a renovation that would allow students to navigate the building without the aid of a team of Sherpa guides. They need a renovation, in short, in order to be more usable.
It should be done, and it should be done soon (If only to save us all from being killed by the extra-dimensional man-eating land squids).
Justin Roczniak is a freshman majoring in civil engineering. He can be reached at [email protected].