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Bruin Tea: Why is the layout of Boelter Hall and Mathematical Sciences so confusing?

South Campus students are criticizing the Mathematical Sciences Building and Boelter Halll’s layout, saying the structures are confusing to navigate. (Amy Dixon/Photo editor)

By Emily MacInnis

April 12, 2019 12:04 p.m.

Complaint: Why are Boelter Hall and the Mathematical Sciences Building so confusing?

South Campus students criticize the layout of the connected Boelter Hall and Mathematical Sciences Building. They say its dead-end hallways and rooms accessible only from certain routes make it difficult and nonintuitive to navigate.

Kelly Schmader, assistant vice chancellor of Facilities Management, said the two buildings were integrated to reduce construction costs, to be space-efficient and to ease travel between them. He added the original structures of the buildings and the Boelter Hall Annex contribute to the buildings’ complex layout.

Mathematical Sciences was finished being built in 1957; Boelter Hall was built two years later to be integrated into Mathematical Sciences. At the time, Mathematical Sciences consisted only of what is now its eastern wing. Its western wing was constructed in 1966.

The Boelter Hall Annex, surrounded by concrete walls, is located in the northwest corner of Boelter Hall. In 1995, it was renovated to host a plasma laser and additional engineering space. Schmader suggested the concrete walls of the annex may have hindered the accessibility between the two buildings.

Schmader said modifying the buildings would be too expensive to justify any potential benefits.

In addition, he said the numbering of the buildings’ floors is relative to their position on the western side of the hill on which they are built. The first floors of the buildings are at the bottom of the hill. Thus, students entering from the Court of Sciences enter on the fifth floor, despite this being “ground level” from this height.

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Emily MacInnis
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