Less than perfect: DePaul’s worst classrooms

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Welcome to Chicago, where when it comes to property, you are paying way too much for too small a space. Not so surprisingly, this reality translates over to the classroom as well. While the facilities shown on campus tours are spacious and recently renovated, this is simply not the case for all buildings and classrooms. Although there are pros to having both campuses located in two of Chicago’s top neighborhoods, there are clearly pitfalls as well. Across the board students have complaints about the small spaces provided for them in some classrooms.

Byrne Hall is notorious among DePaul students and faculty alike. Located just south of the Student Center, Byrne Hall is home to the University’s Physics and Psychology departments. While any room in Byrne almost always displeases most students, room 551 takes the cake for worst classroom in the university. With a tiny space, too many desks, an unreliable projector and to top it off, a random pole in the middle of the room, most students are unhappy to be paying around $35,000 in tuition for this type of facility.

DePaul junior Sabrina DiMaso said “It’s really difficult to focus in such a claustrophobic space.”

Freshman Sabrina Bartolomei had a similar experience in Byrne Hall and said that her instructor moved the class after their first week because “she literally couldn’t stand teaching in there for another day.”

The 990 W Fullerton building doesn’t have much room to spare either. Practically every single room is a tiny, windowless rectangle. Classes of thirty are squeezed into these spaces, and with no other layout choices the desks are positioned in a “u” shape in almost every room. This gives students just enough room to squeeze their way behind their classmates and arrive at their seat.

DePaul freshman Jordan Lorenz isn’t the building’s biggest advocate.

“All the rooms are way too small. In some classes they put so many desks into one room that students have to turn back and forth between a desk facing the wall and the front of the class to take notes,” Lorenz said.

While most Loop Campus classrooms are satisfactory, that is not the case for Lewis Center room 1506 where freshman Jake Glover had quite a negative experience.

“The desks are way too small and close together,” Glover said. “The layout makes it hard to get in and out of your seat or even write on your desk.”

There is an obnoxious noise factor when trains are whizzing by at upwards 55 miles per hour when a class is trying to hear its professor. The classrooms closest to the tracks get the worst of this. Communications professor Jaime Bochantin learned this firsthand when teaching in the Lewis Center.

“I was on the twelfth floor, and every time the train went by, I had to stop talking,” Bochatin said. “The class was six to nine, so it was during rush hour everyday.”

Although most complaints are about lack of space or abundance of noise, some are simply about the looks of the joint, specifically the Schmitt Academic Center. While the third floor was just recently renovated, the second floor computer labs still leave much to desire. With the offwhite cement block walls providing the only somewhat color to the room and the exposed joists on the ceiling, SAC computer labs slightly give off the vibe of an old bomb shelter.

“I try to ignore my surroundings when I’m in the SAC because it’s so ugly it’s depressing,” freshman Madeline Buchel said about the bland, minimal design of the SAC. “The building is so outdated, it could really benefit from some renovations that would provide a more aesthetically pleasing learning environment.”

The reality is that there is no such thing as a perfect campus. Occasionally, students and teachers alike have to deal with minimal color, random poles, crowded rooms or noise distractions. And as for the train, it is doubtful that the CTA will be very concerned with moving it anytime soon.