Building Committee Progress Reports

Chair/Co-chairs: David Barger 

Fall 2021 Committee Members: Committee or Group: Audrey Conn, Russ Portier, Courtney Bingham, Anna-Marie Heins, Alejandra Pilarz, Jason Lee, Sarah Meier  

2021-22 (December) Report Out 

#2 Improve a sense of inclusion for students, faculty, and staff 

Objective(s):  Working to make sure our faculty/staff/students/visitors don’t face any accessibility or prejudicial barriers while moving through the school. 

Current & Future Action Steps/Timeframes: 

  • Gather more information on what issues are facing our instructors and students by sending out an “accessibility” survey.  We would want this to go out no later than early December to have time to collect and analyze the responses before January retreat. 
  • Contact McBurney center to see if they will do a walk through the building and see if they see issues that we can address.   
  • Make the Parenting Room more useful with updates and upgrades.  
  • Caption pictures around the building that highlight commitment to diversity. 
  • Work with the CAPE team to provide them with more specific questions to be included in survey for better feedback on building accessibility and openness.  


Strategic Plan Progress Report Out April 2021

Committee Name: Building Committee

Committee Members: David Barger, Audrey Conn, Russ Portier, Courtney Bingham, Alan Irgang, Alejandra Ros Pilarz, Jason Lee, and Vicky Knoke

Strategic Plan Goal: Improve a sense of inclusion for our students, faculty, and staff

Objective 1: Enhance physical space(s) by promoting community building, creativity, and collaboration among faculty, students, and staff.

Progress on goal since February 2021

We have had several discussions with muralist Amira Caire (who co-painted the Tony Robinson mural at the UW Bookstore). She is interested in painting a mural for the SSW that commemorates the BLM movement/protest of the summer of 2020. We are trying to find a time that works for her work schedule (she is also a teacher) with hopes that she will paint this summer with the mural being completed by the start of fall semester 2021.

We have also worked with a space designer from EBI (our furniture supplier) to design a safe space on the westside of the 4th floor that will be part meeting space and part private study space that includes reliable WIFI and a comfortable area for students to share, create and work together.

With significant input from students, we selected and printed numerous photos of our faculty, staff, students, and special guests that hopefully demonstrates the school’s commitment to diversity and gives our hallways more of a community feel.

Chair/Co-chairs: David Barger

We were unable to distribute the accessibility survey before the end of the semester but have compiled a list of questions and will send out in early summer. We hope this will give us needed information and time to address in concerns that are raised before fall classes start.

Mcburney has been contacted and will be completing an assessment of the building. A main focus will be making the 2nd floor breezeway between SSW and MSC have automatic doors through the hallway and including the student lounge. This will make the 2nd floor of the SSW completely accessible. We are also addressing the lack of an accessible restroom on the 4th floor (see highlight below).

The parenting room needs are being addressed. It was determined that a small refrigerator and appropriate labeling materials be provided in the room. Although the room is used infrequently, we think this smallish one-time expense would be needed and we will move forward with this plan.

We have yet to finalize whether we think captioning our hallway art would be useful or more pleasing aesthetically to keep as is. We have also discussed adding more accent colors to hallways as we have received much positive feedback on how the building looks and feels.We are continuing our effort to bring in more diverse art and artists for the conference rooms but the UW art exchange is currently on hiatus due to the pandemic and we will be monitoring their reopening closely.

The CAPE team has reached out to us about their survey needs and we are compiling our responses which are due in late May. Our desire for feedback on accessibility and openness will be noted for next year’s survey.

We also want to improve the 2nd floor student lounge by reassessing the furniture, appliances, a/c and art (or lack thereof) to make the space more open and inviting and to be a highlight area of the building.

The committee is scheduling and participating in a “clean up day” for the 4th floor west side. The idea is that we will “assess the mess” and move items into like piles as well as inventory old merchandise so that we can send out a rough list of what is up there to the School and provide a date that if anything is not claimed it will be removed. The idea is that after moving years’ worth of storage and un-needed items we can better plan for the space and submit a new lab modernization request which we have been told we would receive after being rejected the last two years. Our top priority is to make this area a safe study and/or meeting place for students and faculty and staff in which folks can count on reliable wifi (not always available in homes) as well as comfortable surroundings. We also want to address the lack of accessible restrooms on this floor.

Chair/Co-chairs: David Barger

Fall 2023 Committee Members: Audrey Conn,  Russ Portier, Courtney Bingham, Anna-Marie Heins, Alejandra Pilarz, Jason Lee & Grace Landrum

We have still not finalized the accessibility survey to send out but are making that a top priority for early in the fall semester.

McBurney completed its assessment of the building and we now have a list of areas that need addressing.  Many of these are out of our control (door opening size, etc) but will put together a working list of what we hope to accomplish in the coming year.

The 4th floor clean-up happened as planned, with many items sent to surplus, recycled, or trashed as needed.  We have received our Lab Modernization funds for a project to start this summer to turn the 4th floor space into a comfortable classroom and/or study space.

We replaced the refrigerator and microwave in the 2nd floor student lounge and added the lounge to the bi-weekly kitchen clean routine.

We worked with a group of students who wanted to honor a former classmate who passed away during their first semester of the part-time MSW program.  A piece of art work and caption were approved and hung in a prominent space near our PTP offices on the 2nd floor.  There was an unveiling ceremony that was attended by the former student’s family.