As reported in the winter Quarterly, the work of 10 transition workstreams continues this spring, examining the questions arising from the merger between Mills College and Northeastern University. The efforts are now getting into the finer details, with the IT group comparing campus-specific information such as student technology needs and email systems, and the human resources teams looking at benefits options for Mills faculty and staff. There are, of course, similar projects underway across all functional areas.
One of the more urgent lists of tasks falls under the facilities workstream, which is planning for the 1,000 students expected to attend classes on the Mills campus this fall. In a town hall with faculty and staff on February 15, Vice President for Strategic Communications and Operations Renee Jadushlever gave an update on the projects planned for the Mills campus, both now and in the future. “In the summer, the extensive work being undertaken will be organized like a fine-tuned ballet!” she said.
• Of the students enrolled this fall, about 650 are projected to live on campus compared to 234 this semester. On recent visits to Mills, Northeastern facilities teams—including architects and space consultants—examined every kind of residential setup with an eye toward maximizing available room through lofted/bunk beds, as well as updating furniture and accessibility. Two wings of Reinhardt Hall are planned to reopen to resident students. (Note: Continuing Mills students who live on campus next year will have the option to occupy residential spaces exclusively with other Mills students.)
• Founders Commons will reopen for food services for the first time since before the pandemic, with one key change—a proposed new entrance. Instead of trekking to the top of the hill, hungry students will be able to enter the building through the first-floor entrance across from Reinhardt Hall. Discussions are underway about the possibility of adding more food options across campus in the years to come.
• Improving internet connectivity will be a big short-term priority in both residence halls and classrooms, so faster speeds are possibly on the way.
• A list of deferred maintenance projects is being reviewed and prioritized on a five-year schedule. Compliance with various codes may be affected by the increased enrollment, and may require upgrading of some facilities. More significant changes, such as the return of a bookstore and the construction of additional residence halls, are likely on the horizon as well. The ample space at Mills is opening the door to myriad possibilities.