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How do you make room for 110 students in a space designed for 75? Redesign it.

James Bean, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Carla Brodley, dean of the College of Computer and Information Science, cut the ribbon to mark the opening of a new computer lab in West Village H on Sept. 6, 2018. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

The West Village H computer lab was recently renovated. But the college wants students to decide where to put the furniture.

In a move designed to foster greater collaboration, the College of Computer and Information Science renovated its computer science lab in 102 West Village H, celebrating the new space with an unveiling ceremony last week.

The space was re-designed with teamwork in mind, a quality Northeastern Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs James Bean said is crucial for computer science students.

Moveable desks and chairs can be reconfigured so that students can easily work in groups. The flexible furniture design also opened up the space for more students, and as Bean put it, the transformation is magical.

“It’s like magic when someone comes to me and tells me they can fit more students in the same amount of space,” he said.

Students work in a new computer lab in West Village H on Sept. 6, 2018. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

The lab’s capacity increased from 75 people to 110 thanks to the new furniture. Now the space can be used for larger events and presentations as well as tutoring and studying.

“Instead of stepping over other students who are sitting in the hallways working, we have this new space for tutoring and group projects,” said Carla Brodley, dean of the college.

The old desktop computers that used to occupy the lab were removed to create additional desk space. Students are encouraged to bring their laptops; there are 12 Chromebooks available for students to borrow.

Students can also enjoy a view of the Museum of Fine Arts or Northeastern’s new mural on Parker Street from the work bar that runs along the glass wall of the lab.  

The decor also got an upgrade. The walls and furniture are now various shades of plum. Brodley jokingly asked the audience of people who came to the opening ceremony, ”Who can guess my favorite color?” Purple, obviously.

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