By Tom Ballard
Forcina Hall: Yes, it feels old and grimy, its hallways resemble those of a typical Catholic high school and the water from the water fountains on the second floor tastes like there are microorganisms floating around in it. That being said, Forcina should stay. The building has played a fundamental role in the history of the College and still hosts many important programs that the College offers today. With a little care, some building maintenance and renovations, Forcina Hall can continue to stand as a valuable structure for the College in the future.
As a freshman who is not a computer science major, I haven’t spent a significant amount of time in Forcina. As a newly-minted editor at The Signal, I look forward to spending more time in the building. Despite my lack of time in Forcina, there are still some things that I know about the building.
First, the building used to house the College’s School of Education until it moved to the new Education Building in 2012. This is evident to anyone who walks through the building, from the posters advertising alumni testimonies about how the College prepared them to be teachers to the outdated key on the third floor that directs visitors to the school’s old department offices.
Second, the building is not held in high-regard. Even my freshman friends from a wide-variety of majors, including computer science, express a certain tone of disappointment whenever Forcina is brought up in a conversation. They typically say that it is outdated and is an eyesore to the campus.
Third, the building serves an important purpose to the campus community. From housing offices for the TCNJ Clinic to technical support to the Bonner Center to, arguably most importantly, The Signal (although I may be a bit biased), Forcina hosts a wide variety of services for the students at the College that allow us to live comfortable and healthy lives while away from home.
Yet, despite its usefulness, some will argue that Forcina is a worthless eyesore, an outsider among newer, more modern buildings and that the building should be torn down.
The argument can, of course, be made that these services can be hosted in other buildings — the computer science department is set to move into the new STEM building once construction is complete — but for many of the programs currently housed in Forcina, the question is: Where would they go? Many of the buildings are already packed with a substantial amount of offices. Roscoe West Hall, home to services such as the Career and Tutoring centers, has an almost entirely empty basement that is not fit to house the services that Forcina currently provides.
To add, hypothetically, if the College does eventually decide to tear down Forcina Hall, what will take its place? A new building? Providing that Forcina is still safe to occupy, it would seem counterproductive of students’ time and tuition dollars to tear down a building, only to replace it with another one. Perhaps the land could be used for a green-lawn for students to study or play outdoor activities on when the weather is nice. Although I have no objection to there being another nice, environmentally-friendly place for students to enjoy on campus, the cost would be losing a four-story building filled with services in exchange for a plain of grassy-green land.
The College has already taken steps to improve the building. Last semester, the College renovated several of the windows in the staircases of Forcina. Furthermore, the College is currently utilizing space to build a nursing simulation lab fit-out, investing more money and time to keep Forcina in the future of the College.
Forcina needs a facelift — that much is certain. Chipped tiles in the halls should be replaced with new tiles of a uniformed color on each floor, so that each floor doesn’t have a variation of green or yellow tiles. The elevator should be replaced with a newer, less terrifying one that does not have lights that flicker like it is being possessed by a demon from the College’s past while shaking like it is being rocked by a sonic boom. We should remember our past as a college, the old education classrooms should be outfitted with better desks and seats, providing students with an alternative place to study in lieu of the library or residence hall lounges.
Forcina Hall has been, and should still be, a vital place for the College community. The College should consider investing more into its existence and not, as some may want, in its termination. In the meantime, when I get the urge to walk during production night at The Signal, perhaps I might wander around the classrooms with their seas of desks that come in a rainbow of colors, pass the cluster (the system of devices that provide internet service to the College) on my way to see the closet-like room on the fourth floor that only has a couch in it or maybe I might just relax in the old lecture hall on the second floor with its red stadium-like seating. One thing is certain about Forcina Hall: the adventures are limitless, and every time you walk around it, you are bound to find something you’ve never seen before.
Students share opinions around campus
What should happen to Forcina?
“(The College should) make it look nicer… the elevator is shady… (Forcina) is not bad, it’s just an old building.”
“Honestly… I haven’t been here long enough to formulate an opinion.”