An expansion and upgrade of Conklin Hall--site of a 1969 student takeover that paved the way for Rutgers-Newark to become one of the nation’s most diverse universities--will create a one-stop student service center and increase space for commuters.
The changes will include 12,000 square feet of renovations and a 6,500 square foot addition on the first floor, where resources will include a Call Center, Cashiering, Financial Aid, ID Services, Registrar, Student Accounting & Summer/Winter Sessions. It will replace the current offices on the third floor and second floor of Blumenthal Hall.
“The focus of the One Stop is improving the student experience for all students. The new site will also provide needed space for commuter students.,’’ said Bil Leipold, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services and Experience.
The design was created in response to student feedback gathered through focus groups during Rutgers-Newark’s 2014 strategic planning process and since, as students have voiced a need for services to be more readily accessible and located in closer proximity to each other. The current rendering of the One Stop was shared with the Student Governing Association in mid-April 2023.
“The new One Stop project brings RU-N closer to fulfilling the ambitious goals of the RU-N strategic plan and the physical master plan, completed in 2015, and will increase our inventory of student-centered spaces on campus,’’ said Amber Randolph, Senior Vice Chancellor for Administration, Economic Development and Chief Financial Officer.
In the new center, cross-trained staff will help with a variety of services and reduce the need for students to shuttle from one desk to another. Small “huddle rooms” will be used by staff to discuss concerns and issues with students ensuring more privacy.
The Conklin Hall addition will also feature a large space for commuters, including a computer lab, work tables, booths, chairs and sofas. “Commuters will have another space on campus to congregate with friends and other class colleagues. We wanted to be more creative on how we use space after traditional hours to meets the needs of the student population,’’ said Leipold.
Conklin Hall was chosen for its landmark status as the site of Conklin Hall takeover in 1969, when members of the Rutgers-Newark Black Organization of Students occupied the building to protest the university’s lack of diversity.
“The placement of this one-stop center is critical because of the history of the building,’’ said Leipold. “The legacy of Conklin Hall is so significant in terms of Rutgers-Newark’s story.’’ The design will incorporate images and stories from the Conklin takeover.
The renovation will update the first-floor exterior with a glass façade and a pitched, angled roof. An exterior elevator will create barrier-free access to services inside, as well as to the Samuels Plaza.
Construction, expected to be completed for fall of 2025, will begin this spring and start with a relocation of the Writing Center and Writing Program from Conklin Hall to custom-designed offices on the second floor of the Hahne’s Building.
A set of frequently asked questions is available online for faculty, staff, and students who will continue to use Conklin Hall during the construction period, the first signs of which will be visible in late May. An FAQ addressing the overall project may be found here and an FAQ specifically addressing environmental health and safety may be found here.
Leipold noted that the project incorporates voices and perspectives from several units at Rutgers-Newark. “This is a large collaboration between Enrollment Services & Experience, Institutional Planning & Operations, the School of Arts and Sciences Newark, and the Division of Student Affairs,’’ he said.