Unique campus locations transformed for distanced classes

August 11, 2020

University News

With students returning to campus and social distancing protocols in place, the University of Richmond is taking advantage of a variety of atypical spaces. In addition to academic buildings, areas like the Robins Center, Jepson Alumni Center, the Heilman Dining Center, and Cannon Memorial Chapel are being transformed and outfitted to accommodate student needs.

“The University is fortunate that we have small, intimate classrooms — that's what attracts people to us,” said Sam Lloyd, manager of support services. “That being said, a normal classroom that would typically hold 30 students could only hold eight or 10 once we set social distancing so we had to start looking and get creative with larger spaces.”

Classrooms are now on the ambulatory level of the Robins Center, as well as the third floor of the law school library that is normally filled with bookstacks.

“Just about every event space that we have here on campus has been utilized in some form or fashion,” Lloyd said, “whether it's for storage or an actual classroom.”

In pre-existing classrooms, technology for instruction already exists, but the University has added additional monitors and cameras so that anyone who is virtually attending will have a greater sense of everything happening in the class. The new spaces have been  retrofitted to accommodate the necessary technology, and some areas like the Robins Center have had sound buffers added to minimize noise and distractions between classrooms.

“We're just hoping that people understand,” Lloyd said. “Your space is going to be different when you get back. We'll do everything in our ability to make everybody feel like this is a place that they feel safe and want to be.”