New Willcox Hall Spaces Completed


Members of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity use the new Pecker Hall for their officer training conference. Photo by Joseph Tucci/The Pace Chronicle.

Joseph Tucci, Managing Editor

Construction on the new David J. Pecker Hall and Willcox Multipurpose Room, located in the basement of Willcox Hall, has been finished, and the space is now open for use.

Pecker Hall is a lecture hall that replaces the former Miller Lecture Hall, which has been turned into three classrooms. The lecture hall is designed to be a collaborative learning space, and is currently being used for classes from the College of Health Professions.

“We had a lot of requests for a new lecture hall for the class schedule, there’s some new programs for the College of Health Professions that require large lecture halls, and there was a desire to make the lecture hall a collaborative space,” Director of Facilities Management William Link said.

The new lecture hall has a maximum capacity of 220 individuals. It has fixed seating for 120 people, and can hold 100 more with portable seating and standing room.

All the chairs in the space are independent of the rest of the furniture, being able to spin around.

“We took Miller [Lecture Hall] offline. Miller wasn’t a very popular lecture space, it was so long and narrow if you sat in the back,” Link said.

Pecker Hall is named in honor of CEO of American Media, Pace board of trustees member, and winner of the Pace Spirit Award David Pecker, who made a donation to the university.

The new multipurpose room will be used for events of all kinds, including Willcox parties, dinners, and lectures.

Link says the room has a maximum holding capacity of 370 with just standing room, with tables and chairs it can hold 150, and with lecture-style seating it can hold 125.

According to Link, the construction cost of the spaces was around $2.5 million.

“It’s a big space, there’s brand new furniture, we had to put fire protection in here, and new heating, ventilating, and air conditioning,” Link said.

The whole project took around nine months to complete, with the planning starting in March of last year, and being officially opened at the start of the 2016 spring semester.

Student reaction to the space has been mixed. Some appreciate the updated feel of the rooms.

“I think that the lecture hall gives a refreshing feel to the idea of a classroom. It’s equipped with new technology that’s also modernized and makes me feel like I’m in a room that represents my generation, sleek and new,” junior Kirk Pineda said.

However, some miss the old space, and feel the new rooms were not necessary.

“I thought [the new multipurpose room] was going to be a refurbished gym, not a room to hold banquets and stuff. Now I’m sad that the basketball court isn’t in there anymore,” graduate student Jordan Adelman said. “I was surprised to a see a new lecture room when I feel like the one in Miller was probably sufficient, and I’d like to see exactly what they plan to do with it.”