Katelynn Singleton, Campus Carrier staff writer
Krannert has undergone numerous changes since last semester. There are more outdoor seating options, signs in Viking Court to direct traffic and the ballroom has been transformed into a multi-purpose room. In addition, students are required to use the north stairwell to enter the dining hall in an effort to help maintain social distancing when waiting in line.
Viking Court has had tables removed to make space for the long, socially distanced, lines for the restaurants. To make up for the loss of these dining spaces, the tables formerly in Kilpatrick Commons have been moved to Krannert’s front patio, and the ballroom is a dining space during lunch hours. Senior Bryce Nethery, student work coordinator for the Student Activities Office, says that the goal is to make sure that students still have the seating options they had in previous years.
“We’re trying to create a new space for students just to study, eat together, and stuff like that so that we can still build that community, even if it looks a lot different this year,” Nethery said.
The SAO has also had to adapt the class shuttle and campus buses to fit COVID-19 guidelines. All buses have their own cleaning supplies and have limited capacity. The class shuttle can fit three students safely, and the blue and gold buses can fit five to six students. Due to the limited capacity, the buses each have new routes to reach all buildings on campus. Nethery says the blue bus, formerly the Mountain Campus bus, now travels along the outer edge of the campus, to Ford, past the Townhouses, and around the College Chapel. The gold bus now goes to the Mountain Campus, comes back to Main Campus, and goes around buildings.
Krannert has a deep cleaning schedule that the managers follow when they close the building. When the ballroom is open for dining, there is a student attendant to ensure social distancing and to clean tables when students leave.
In addition to being a dining hall, the Krannert ballroom is being used as a classroom. Cecily Crow, director of Student Activities and Krannert Center manager, says that the ballroom hosts classes every day, with the potential for more classes to be added in the future. Meeting rooms on the third floor are also being used as classrooms, with four classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and one class on Tuesday and Thursday.
“We’re really a multipurpose building, and we try to serve the academic side, meals, and dining, and as a host for events on the weekends,” Crow said.
With numerous changes, many returning students have found it challenging to create new habits. Students will move chairs or sit on the ottomans between the chairs in the Krannert lobby.
“As a campus, we have to continue to be diligent at practicing maintaining a six-foot distance and keeping a mask on when you’re not eating or in close proximity,” Crow said.
Moving forward, Crow hopes to keep the patio seating, as it has been a popular spot for students to complete classwork, eat meals and meet with friends. As for changes during the colder months, there is the potential for portable outdoor heaters for the patio space. Crow says that Krannert is ready for any possible changes in the coming months.
“Hopefully, those changes would be more freedom than less freedom,” says Crow.