was 25 years in the making, but the result is certainly a payoff for
the patience of the math department.
The LeRoy Cowles Building,
the northwestern neighbor of the Park Building on Presidents Circle,
opened its new doors this past year to reveal a sparkling renovation
of wood, stone, and light, a combination of clean modern lines and historical
integrity. "We basically gutted the building except for the walls
and floor beams," says Mehrdad Samie of FFKR Architects. "But
the original profile was replicated and copied in everything."
"The department is
very happy with the result," says Jim Carlson, chair of the math
department. After waiting so long, the department knew just what it
needed: sufficient office space, more and better classroom and computer
space close to offices, and a center where students could study, use
computers, and receive academic help. "The new T. Benny Rushing
Mathematics Student Center is a dream come true, and student reaction
has been positive beyond all expectation," says Carlson.
A new exposed-beam loft
space added where original cupolas housed exhaust fans that are
no longer needed will become a student study area, if additional
funding to finish the work can be secured.
In addition, a plaza connecting
the Cowles Building to the Widtsoe Building has created a "wonderful
side benefit of the project," according to Carlson, "a public
space where people gather." One other benefit: new lobby artwork
on the west side, "Numbers and Measure 2001-2" by Anna Campbell
Bliss. Eighteen plates explore "the range and influence of mathematics
in related disciplines, art and culture," including poetry, choreography,
Euclidian geometry, and Islamic calligraphy an exploration that
expands our very notion of mathematics.