Parrish lounge designed to be a communications center

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Starting next fall, students will be able to enjoy a brand new lounge to relax in and stay connected. The Parrish lounge is envisioned as a new hub of communication that will be a central location for students, featuring a meeting space, a TV, computers, and the post office.

According to Facilities’ Susan Sayer, the goal of the lounge is to be “a center of student activities and functions.” The lounge will have a curvilinear design, intended to break up the rigid, formal pattern of Parrish. The ceilings will be different heights to create movement and add an informal feeling. Two curved countertops will be placed centrally for students to place belongings as they use the post office. Desks built into the countertops will hold magazine racks and three new computers. A curved bench will also be built onto the back wall.

One corner of the room will feature a large table set, designed for group use. Movable partitions will be available to keep things private. Smaller groups will be able to work together on the other smaller tables scattered around, while chairs with desks built in will accommodate individual students with laptops, who will be able to access the internet using the wireless connection. The lounge will also contain a TV along one wall, but its goal is information: it will be set to a news station and will stay either on low volume or close-captioned.

The post office will be moving its location to the lounge, taking up the complete left side. The new mailbox section will be “E” shaped, with students going into cubbies to get their mail. The number of mailboxes will be increased, allowing each student their own box, as well as the size of the boxes themselves. The old post office will be taken over by offices services and the credit union.

Sayer said that the goal of the lounge is to be a hub for students; a place to relax and stay informed, not a study space. The lounge will also make use of different colors, materials, and lighting in its design to attain a “fun” atmosphere. All the furniture will be mobile, allowing students to group as they please. There will be no food service, but vending machines will be available.

Parrish Parlors are also getting renovated and will open next fall with new furniture. However, their design remains the same, and they will stay as a study space. There will also be wireless internet.

Many design elements for the Parrish lounge were the result of the student design contest held last fall. According to Sayer, 11 entries were received, and 4 were chosen as winners, all for unique reasons. The design entered by Serena Le ’07 and Marie Kim ’07 featured the use of natural materials, while Joey Roth’s ’06 incorporated innovative lighting. Jessica Mandrick ’07 suggested the lounge’s concept of “a window on the outside world” and Stella Kyakopoulos ’05 involved wall panels and colors in her plan. All students met together with design team to discuss the final plan for the space.

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