University envisions alternative function for Mail Center space


Mailboxes. Photo by Anh-Viet Dinh.

Mailboxes. Photo by Anh-Viet Dinh.
Mailboxes. Photo by Anh-Viet Dinh.

In the upcoming weeks, the university is making major renovations and changes to Coates University Center.

One of the biggest changes includes moving the student mailboxes. While the new location or date of the move is not finalized, the mailboxes will be switched to apartment style. Packages will also be directed to central receiving, near Prassel Garage for pickup.

These changes come from past interest over consolidating the mail center on campus, a fact that David Tuttle, dean of students and vice president for student affairs, acknowledges has been in the works for awhile.

“Central receiving has been looking at consolidating the mail center,” Tuttle said. “They have wanted to combine as to better streamline their budget.”

Regarding the student mailbox area, the plan looks to revamp the space into an extended lounge area, utilizing the building for more student use.

“As for the student boxes, we have interest in better utilizing that space,” Tuttle said. “That opens up the area and we could make it into a lounge space.”

The new lounge space, along with renovations to the already – established seating areas seeks to possibly include a TV, charging stations, varied seating arrangements and recliners. These changes are exciting prospects to many students, including junior Hannah Coley.

“The mail does not really need to be there,” Coley said. “I think a lounge area would be better.”

To junior Zach Speer, the need for the mailboxes to be on upper campus is unnecessary and more area for student activity would make better use of the space.

“I don’t use the mailboxes at all, so I think it would be a good idea,” Speer said. “It gets kind of loud in Coates, so it couldn’t hurt to spread it out a bit more.”

While the necessity for the mailboxes was once crucial to attracting student life, these proposed changes reflect the changes on campus.

“In the 1980s, there was a conscious decision made to bring students on to upper campus by putting the mailboxes in Coates,” Tuttle said. “However, now our needs are different.”

While many are eager to see the changes to the building, others are unsure about the transformation. To junior Joseph Montano, the location of the boxes is what makes them convenient, especially for students living off campus.

“I guess it would be a good idea for students living on campus,” Montano said. “For me, however, it’s less convenient; I come here to grab a bite to eat and check my mail, so it’s easy to have it all in one place.”

While moving the mailboxes will be one of the major changes, other plans are in the works for the near future. Quick changes, like new paint and furniture, both upstairs and downstairs, will be the first ones. Other long term changes are being looked into, but are not planned out just yet.

“It’s easier to start with smaller steps, like paint and furniture, that have a high impact,” Tuttle said. “Longer term we still want to add things in the commons, maybe a different concept to replace the deli. We are working with SGA on what students would want the most.”

As for the mailboxes and new refurbishing, the changes look to start soon, with all packages being moved out of Coates and into Central Receiving.

“There is a good chance we will see these changes in the next six months,” Tuttle said. “After that, its anyone’s guess on the rest of the timeline.”