Students missing out on outdoor study space

Group studying and projects are supposed to be full of lively conversations, but this is something that can’t be done in the quiet library.

The college has found a solution for this, but plans have been delayed.

During the winter or spring semester, a patio space will open, complete with teak sets, at the Library/Learning Crossroads that will allow students to eat, drink and talk freely outside of a quiet zone.

While the patio was expected to open last semester after spring break, the design of the space has raised concerns about library resources, student accessibility and safety.

Inside the library, students have access to group study rooms, study carrels and lounge areas furnished with couches. The patio space offers students a chance to bring the academic atmosphere of the library outside.

“It is supposed to be a space where the students can go outdoors study, have food and drink,” said Lauren Saslow, library department chair.

The patio space, which is located behind Computer Lab B, is currently unavailable for student.

According to Saslow, a gate in the patio area was intended to prevent students from exiting through the back entrance. She said the purpose of the gate was to buzz if students took a book outside of the library’s perimeter. The only side of the library that doesn’t have a security gate is the patio Saslow said.

However, once the security gate was put in, another delay presented itself regarding the patio’s compliance with the American with Disability Act (ADA).

“The doors weren’t opening wide enough and that is required by the law,” Saslow said. “Whether it looks like something that is easy to be fixed, in fact it is not easy because we are still under warranty with the original building, it takes about two years to get fixed.”

Although the space has now fixed the problem, library safety is a concern.

“There are stairs that go down to Parking Lot 7, and it shouldn’t be an exit,” Saslow said. “Anyone can come up and it could be a way that someone sneaks into the library, it is dangerous especially at night.”

If students start to use the patio space as an exit, the door leading to the parking lot will remain open and unmonitored.

“By the end of this month we are going to have a meeting with the sheriff and other people to assist the security risk before we open it up,” Saslow said.

Although the use of the patio isn’t scheduled until winter or spring semester, students are anticipate its opening.

“A patio means more area for students to study in. It is very shaded, we can study in groups in fresh air and natural light, it makes you feel better,” Brandon Rodriguez, an architecture major, said.

While the library has multiple study areas already, students look forward to an outside space that isn’t a quiet space and invites conversation.

“It is a good idea to open the patio to students because it is outdoor and we can talk loud and have more space for studying close to resources,” Kamran Mapar, an electrical engineering major, said.