Last spring, the University announced that Shriver Hall would be closed during the fall semester of 2017 to address safety concerns from old lighting and wiring systems. This construction was originally expected to be finished by the beginning of this semester.
However, while the project was underway, new expansions and renovations were added to the original plans, pushing back the scheduled reopening to sometime during the 2018-2019 school year.
The University is attempting to transform Shriver into a modern presentation space, something that the Homewood Campus currently does not have. Renovations include wall mounted display monitors in the lobby, new flooring and seating, fire safety improvements and acoustical enhancements in the auditorium.
These improvements come after years of complaint about uncooperative AV and lighting systems. We commend the University for deciding to fix all the problems that student groups have been concerned about in one fell swoop.
These new features will greatly improve the experiences of future performances and speaker series held in the Hall for both those on stage and in the audience. Despite these incoming improvements, the manner by which the University conveyed this process is unsatisfactory.
Over this past semester, we have seen how Shriver’s closure has hampered the success and accessibilty of events like the MSE Symposium. Performing arts groups, who are already strapped on space, have been forced to use inconvenient venues to host their shows. We are disappointed that affected student groups may have to face this reality again next fall and possibly spring.
There is no clear projected date for when the renovations will be complete. We find the fact that students were blindsided by this announcement to be unaccetable.
The University should have been more transparent about pushing back the reopening date. We are now nearing the end of February, a month past the originally projected reopening, and we are just learning of these developments. As Shriver is often used as a student space, we all have the right to know what is happening with its construction.
We are hopeful that these renovations will ultimately make Shriver a space that the Hopkins community can take full advantage of and be proud of for the years to come. However, today, we are disappointed that the University continues to keep its students in limbo on when they could use Shriver again.