Webb delays Hooper renovation


The Frederick R. Hooper Student Center before construction. Graphic courtesy of Searock + Stafford Construction.

From culture events to movie nights, Frederick R. Hooper Student Center is a lively place on campus where students love to spend their time. To further accommodate the students’ needs, this recreation center will be refurbished next year.

Between the end of April to the beginning of May 2019, Hooper will be closing for renovations for about one year. The “new Hooper” will be open to students around December 2019.

Hooper is a great spot for day students and boarders alike to spend any and all freetime. Groups of students from all grades spend their freetime here, so when Hooper closes these students will need to find a new temporary home.

Catherine Lou (‘21) said, “I feel sad that it’s closing, but I know that it will end up being better so it’s fine.”

Hooper’s renovations were supposed to begin this December, but the city of Claremont deemed Hooper a historical building. Because of this title, the building cannot undergo significant alterations in pieces, such as the doors or windows, since that could affect the historical integrity of the building. Webb will need to make a case to the city, and go through the process of approving the renovations again before any changes can be made.

When Hooper does begin the renovations next year, the building will be modernized, which will make the area more clean and useful for students. There will be a café by where the mailboxes currently are, and there will be four to five individual bathrooms instead of the bathrooms with stalls.

The north and south ends of the building will also change. There will be a balcony that looks out over the lower field, which will also be redone. On the north end, there will be a large door that will open up to the quad, so students can watch any performances or events that happen here. The projection screen will be replaced by a big screen TV, and the receptionist from the administration building will also be moving into the offices in Hooper.

Mr. Duque, Dean of Campus Life, said, “Part of the receptionist will have a concierge service so if you have a uniform or something like that… you can check it in so no one will mess with it.”

The receptionist will also allow students to pick up packages and mail. The new Hooper will even include a separate room where students can find supplies for projects, such as poster boards, and a copier will be available.

These renovations will make Hooper a lively and convenient place for students, once it opens again. Until then, students who spend most of their time in Hooper will have to find a new place to hang out.

Although nowhere else can compare to Hooper, there are other places on campus that have a similar atmosphere. The Fawcett Library, Price Dining Hall, Al’s patio, and benches outside Hooper could all be areas where the “Hooper residents” spend their spare time in the future. The dining hall and library hours may even be extended to make campus life more convenient for day students who do not have dorms to go to.

Until then, the students should enjoy the time they have here, and keep in mind that they will have to find a new place to hang out and store their things. Events, such as culture events and Theme Nights practices, are held there, so these functions will also need to find a new location. Hooper is a huge part of campus life, and although these renovations will temporarily alter this, the new Hooper will be able to provide so much more for the Webb community.