Project Case Study: Montclair State University
A few years back I became involved in the development of a new classroom building for Montclair State University’s College of Education and Human Services. The new state-of-the-art academic building would house 125 faculty offices, eight specialized learning labs, a 200-seat lecture hall, eight 100-seat lecture halls, 29 classrooms seating 30 to 40 seats, and a network operations and data center. Also included was the ADP Center for Teacher Preparation and Learning Technology; the Center of Pedagogy; and a Literacy Enrichment Center.

Planning for the new building was carefully coordinated to meet the overall priorities of the administration, the School of Education, the architecture (designed by The S/L/A/M Collaborative), and the need to accommodate extensive AV/multimedia capabilities.

MSU was a campus in transition, moving from a disjointed series of old, architecturally unimpressive buildings and disparate parking lots to a newly master planned campus. The overwhelming majority of the existing classrooms around campus had rudimentary if any technology at all, consisting of wooden table arm chairs, dusty chalk boards and wall mounted pull down projection screens. With few exceptions, no dedicated projection equipment was provided. The College of Education’s facilities were probably the oldest on campus.

During the initial phases of the space planning, the design team was given severely constrained parameters in which to work. It seemed there would be very limited funds available for initial equipment purchase. Given the limitations, we set about to optimize the potential of the new building to accommodate advanced presentation systems and technology in the future. Fortunately, we were able to obtain the administration’s support to provide the maximum levels of infrastructure provisioning.