Ritter should be the next update to campus

Shelsea Deravil


Earlier this school year, Ursinus College opened its new Innovation and Discovery Cen- ter (IDC). This building, which bridges Pfahler and Thomas Halls, offers students access to new lab space and equip- ment for a more modernized education. The classrooms and lab rooms are spacious, which is very beneficial to the large number of students majoring in the science field. The IDC also houses Ursinus’ Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good and the interdisciplinary U-Imagine Center for Inte- grative and Entrepreneurial Studies.

The IDC contributes to a modernized look for Ursinus’ campus. Many students and staff want the school to reno- vate other outdated buildings on campus, specifically the Rit- ter Center. Ritter, which opened in 1980, is one of the most neglected buildings on campus and its interior is confusing and out-of-date.

Once a former gymnasium, Ritter is now home to the Media and Communications Studies and Art Departments. Some examples of the types of problems in Ritter: the hole in the floor of room 141 that was covered by carpeting for a few years before finally being addressed.

Senior Grace LaDelfa, an MCS major, shared her im- pressions of Ritter. “There are broken chairs and desks, [plus] old chalkboards still in class- rooms. [It is ironic that] Ritter is a communications building, yet the technology in it is old and worse than what is in most other academic buildings.”

Professor Sheryl Goodman said the building had under- gone some changes during her past two decades at Ursinus. For starters, Ritter used to be a gymnasium, then turned into a black box, similar to the one in The Kaleidoscope. These renovations have left odd structur- ing on the second floor, and the art room still has a basketball gym floor.

Goodman said, “We have a good amount of space here, but [Ritter’s] clearly in need of a renovation. With little expenses involved, there can be many fix-ups, such as the lobby, elevator, repaint on walls… just minor things that would be conductive to the social science department [and Ritter as a whole].”

Goodman also mentioned the ten-year review the school just had and the associated Master Plan, which is the process the school takes to comprehensively evaluate and determine what academic, physical, or functional changes should be made next. Earlier this month, two architects from one of the companies hired by Ursinus as part of this process held an open forum in which some students, including my- self, voiced their requests and suggestions for a more modernized campus.

Ritter was brought up numerous times as being either one of or the next top prior-
ity for Ursinus renovations. The details and descriptions of Ritter’s dilapidated look were taken into account. A reno- vated Ritter may not have to resemble the IDC, considering that would require a complete teardown, but students and fac- ulty expect changes in the near future. Hopefully, the request for a renovation to Ritter is fulfilled.