Until recently, students were not allowed to dance in the Thwing Center’s ballroom floor, lest it collapse and they fall through it into the Jolly Scholar.
Those rules changed after a thorough renovation of the room over this summer, ranging from new reinforced beams—structurally sound ones—to the entryway doors, along with many changes and additions to other parts of Thwing.
New hardwood now covers the room’s floor (officially known as the Excelsior Ballroom) of which about two-thirds is covered by a blue carpet; the renovation is Case Western Reserve University colors themed. The last third remains uncovered and can be used as a dance floor.
Only dinners, fairs or other similar events could be previously held in the only campus ballroom that doesn’t cost student groups a fee to reserve; students were allowed to dance on the stage that was still completely structurally sound, so some student performance groups used the room for events.
On Thursday, Aug. 31, members of Case Western Reserve University’s administration, including President Barbara Snyder, along with students and staff toured the building to celebrate all the changes made to Thwing.
Beyond the ballroom, the Commuter Lounge in the west basement was refurbished using money from Thwing’s annual furniture sale.
“I like the [lounge], it’s a lot more open with the furniture we have now…,” said Jim Jaworski, treasurer of the Commuter and Off Campus Organization. “We are trying to turn this space into something that has as many functions as possible so that it could be a study space, a lounge area for people to relax or a place for people to hangout.”
A new student lounge was added to the east basement. The Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC) also received a new office and storage space, which connects with the student lounge.
“We wanted somewhere we could have everything centralized,” said Geneva Magsino, president of the UDC. “I know in the beginning, back when we were starting out, it was hard to find spaces. I think it’s really important to have a central space that’s for us, just like all the other [umbrella organizations].”
The UDC was formed three years ago. They had previously been working out of the Spartan Room in Thwing, and before that, one desk in the Tinkham Veale University Center.
New additions also came to the building’s atrium. A large chess set was placed on the atrium floor, and a jenga set is available on one of the tables on the raised portion of the atrium. The atrium also now contains foosball tables that double as coffee tables.
Changes to the atrium first began during the 2015-2016 school year, when a new desk that sells snacks and functions as a postal station was added to the building. The newly formed Thwing Advisory Board spearheaded the project; the group began producing the plan for this past summer’s renovations in the fall of 2016 in conjunction with the Student Presidents’ Roundtable (SPR).
The SPR is made up of the presidents of the Undergraduate Student Government, the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative, the University Media Board, the University Programming Board, the Interfraternity Congress, the Panhellenic Council, the Class Officer Collective and the Residence Hall Association (RHA).
Last fall the SPR declared that Thwing is a central part of student life at CWRU. Nearly all of the changes to Thwing reflect that vision.
“It’s been almost a year since the students came together and said let’s address this,” said J.P. O’Hagen, chair of the University Media Board, and member of the Thwing Advisory Board, who drove much of the initiative. “The university can move a little faster than we give it credit for….In about the same timeline as last year, we’re hoping to having something done to keep the momentum going and really overhaul [Thwing] into a student focused building.”