Microsoft collaboration to take over Thwing basement


Christopher Gittings/Observer

Student groups were initially told that they must move out of the space within ten days, though they later received a week’s extension.

In July, Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic and Microsoft released a video showing a student looking at a hologram of the human body, zooming in on the heart and seeing how it works in three dimensions.

That video was an early teaser for the project underway under Thwing.

Joanne Brown, the assistant director for the office of Planning, Design & Construction, said that this new space will be used for what the university will be calling the Interactive Commons, something that will be overseen by Dr. Mark Griswold, a radiology professor at the university.

“This is something I’m really excited about,” said Brown.

The space is still being designed, but according to Brown, “We hope to start construction very soon.”

The university has not made an official announcement about the Interactive Commons, but there are scraps of information about it around the web.

A job posting on the Consortium of African American Organizations’ website says that CWRU is looking for a “digital anatomy content developer” in “a newly established campus-wide institute called the Interactive Commons (IC).”

The job posting mentions use of the Microsoft HoloLens, something that the university has established a page for on its website, showcasing an article on the possibilities that using the Microsoft HoloLens brings to academics.

Student organizations using the basement of Thwing for storage received an email on Aug. 21 telling them that they had 10 days to move to a new storage space. There was no reason given at the time, and no use mentioned for the vacated space.

“It will be used for a function related to academics,” said Chippy Kennedy, president of Undergraduate Student Government. “That’s all I’m allowed to say.”

After some groups expressed initial discontent in reaction to the announcement that groups must move, USG worked with CWRU administration to move the deadline for relocation back by a week.

This space in Thwing’s basement was left vacant once the bookstore moved to its new location on Euclid Avenue. Student organizations were allowed to store their items there temporarily, but the space was never officially designated as a storage area.

Despite upset early on over the sudden move, the newly available storage space, an unmarked door with a card access entry system in the old Excelsior Club building in Thwing, will be used for many of the items previously stored in the room that will become the Interactive Commons space.

In the past, if a group wanted to access the storage room, they would have to schedule an appointment to have the room unlocked for them during specific hours. Now, group members can fill out a form to request card access to the room, so that they can access it during any of Thwing’s operating hours.