New chairs in Franz, old ones rot outside of PPlant

By Haley Grant | September 12, 2017 11:22am

New chairs in some classrooms of Franz Hall have replaced the 22 year old chairs that were starting to show their age.
by Kayli Gribi / The Beacon

Students might be wondering what’s different about Franz Hall this semester. Is it the black, dusty chalk boards? No, those are the same. The bagel spread options? Nope, those are just as enticing as last year. What is it? 

Look down. Physical Plant bought new chairs for a select number of Franz classrooms over the summer. They replaced the purple tablet chairs in classrooms on the second floor of the building with futuristic-looking chairs on wheels.

Sandy Gelati, the operations administrator at Physical Plant, said the old chairs were beginning to show their age.  Original to the building, they were 22 years old.

Physical Plant intended to donate or recycle the old chairs, but they haven’t been able to find anyone who would take them, according to Gelati. Instead, they’ve been sitting outside exposed to the elements. 

“It might be that we are not able to donate them anymore,” says Gelati.

Old chairs will not be donated, according to Sandy Gelati of Physical Plant.
by Kayli Gribi / The Beacon

Physical Plant bought the new chairs at a discounted price of $325 each. They offer an array of features that will hopefully improve the classroom environment in Franz. 

Unlike the previous chairs, the new chairs don't have upholstery, which makes them easier to clean and longer-lasting. Additionally, the new chairs are larger and offer greater desk space than the half-desk of the previous style.

“They’re easy to move for group work and they’re comfortable,” said junior Asia Pavao. 

There is also the option to place belongings in a space beneath the new chairs. Gelati said this frees up space in the classroom, which is both safer and more convenient than having books and bags sitting in the aisles.

The table arms on the new chairs can swing to either side, accommodating both right-handed and left-handed students. The previous chairs had unchanging table arms. When this is the case, the school orders 90% right-handed and 10% left-handed chairs, said Gelati. The new ambidextrous chairs solve this problem.  

“I can sit in any seat, as opposed to the two usually designated to left-handed people,” said junior Brennan Weber, who is left-handed.

The new chairs are on wheels and can accommodate students who are both right and left handed.
by Kayli Gribi / The Beacon

In particular, the ability to roll the chairs allows for a more functional classroom environment. 

“Because they’re able to roll, the room is able to function in several different ways; to move between lecture style to collaborative style to a group style,” Gelati said. “So you can have small groups working together. You can also push your desks together to have a larger space.” 

However, some students are having issues with the extra mobility. 

“They’re kind of a distraction, because they spin a lot. I always feel like I’m moving,” said junior Andrew Davis. 

Unfortunately, the new chairs won’t be going in all classrooms. Physical Plant replaces chairs and other furniture as needed, according to Gelati. Many of the other chairs in Franz are only a few years old. However, there are still a few of the 22-year-old originals in some of the tiered classrooms in Franz, Gelati said.