The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Maple Hall opens its doors after years of construction

Some classrooms in Maple Hall are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies like HyFlex, which enables professors to conduct online and in-person classes at the same time in Northridge, Calif., on Monday, March 25, 2024.

Maple Hall, located on the southern end of the campus on Etiwanda Avenue, is finally opening its doors on March 25 after pandemic-related construction setbacks pushed its original 2023 opening date.

The newly-minted building will host the classes that were previously held in Sierra Hall, with the old Sierra Hall building closing its doors for an eventual renovation that is still being planned.

Diane Stephens, associate vice president of Academic Resources and Planning, explained that faculty who teach the 465 classes in Sierra Hall, mostly from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, will move to the new building during the next few weeks and will hold classes there for the duration of the semester.

After the transition is completed, Sierra Hall will no longer hold classes, but will still hold faculty offices and computer labs.

Stephens said that Maple Hall will also host general purpose classrooms that can be allocated based on need, as well as some freshman seminar University 100 courses for incoming students to spend time in the new building.

The new building, with its open layout and natural color palette, has three floors. Each has its own color theme on abstract murals adorning the walls — orange for the first floor, green for the second and blue for the third.

Stephens explained that windows are a key feature of the building’s design. Each classroom has windows to allow in natural light and outside scenery into the rooms. She said that while the detail may be overlooked in the design of some of the older buildings on campus, it can make a difference.

“We all need natural light and I think it’s easy to forget that,” Stephens said, “We have older buildings that have been re-engineered over the years that aren’t optimal in some ways, and it’s a lovely thing to have in all the classrooms.”

The classrooms in Maple Hall are designed to cater to a more collaborative learning environment, and include rolling chairs and adjustable seating arrangements. Classrooms have instructions for three ways to arrange seats in order to facilitate group work and discussion-based lectures. The instructions are posted on the walls, as well as in QR codes that faculty can consult when deciding how to arrange classes.

Maple Hall is also equipped with technology to facilitate hybrid learning, partly owing to the fact that the project was worked on remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sherihan Elsharif, strategic scheduling analyst for Academic Resources and Planning, explained that the building comtains 33 broadcast rooms with an instructor-facing camera, so students can Zoom into classes remotely. Three rooms are also equipped with HyFlex technology, an instructor-facing camera and student-facing camera, so students can have the full experience of taking part in the class even when not physically present.

Each floor of Maple Hall has sitting areas that students can use between classes. These areas have TV screens that students can use to cast from their own devices. These areas will be available for use on a first-come first-serve basis.

Maple Hall also includes a gender-neutral, multi-stall bathroom on the first floor of the building.

There will also be a new lactation space in Maple Hall that will join the five others located around the CSUN campus. It will include seating, a changing table and a fridge for people to take care of their lactation needs. The lactation space is located on the second floor of the building, and students and faculty will be able to book a time to use the space.

Stephens is looking forward to official operations getting started in the building, which she projects will soon be a bustling center of learning for multiple colleges on campus in the coming semesters.

“We definitely know it’s going to be popular,” Stephens said. “We’re thrilled that we have this wonderful new learning space for our students and our faculty.”

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