Published November 30, 2016
One high-tech classroom in Millard Fillmore Academic Center has been completely renovated in advance of the Fall 2016 semester. MFAC 170 has been given updates to make it more comfortable, safer and more accommodating of student technology.
The project was led by Facilities Planning and Design, and included updates to the physical space for comfort and aesthetics, as well as the furniture, alarms and technology inside. Rekha Prativadi, Assistant Facilities Program Coordinator, knew from the beginning that time was a factor.
“We had no time for delays,” Prativadi said. "Our crews worked weekends and long hours to make sure we were done before the start of the Fall 2016 semester. We don’t have a space to put 200 plus students elsewhere at the start of the semester."
A new fire protection system was installed, including sprinklers and a fire alarm system. The back wall has been taken out to eliminate safety concerns and allow more natural light to come into the room. Wooden wall panels were also added to give the room a more comfortable feel.
"Students used to call 170 ‘The Cave,'" said Ron Van Splunder, an architect working on the Facilities Planning and Design team. "I don’t know what students will call it now, but I can assure you, it will not be ‘The Cave.’"
The acoustics were upgraded via wall fabric being added, along with sloping paths and gypsum. All this was designed with the idea that comfortable sound is the best for learning and teaching.
The old tablet arm desks were also replaced with long tables with built-in power outlets for students to charge their electronics. New chairs can swivel 360 degrees to aid in collaborative learning between students. The front wall was painted to be used as a projection screen, instead of needing an actual screen. New monitors and more efficient, dimmable lights have also been added.
The original Room 170 was part of the Millard Fillmore Academic Center which was finished in July 1974. The MFAC was named after Millard Fillmore, the 13th president of the United States and UB's first university chancellor.