The long awaited Classroom and Office Building (COB) 2 that has loomed behind the library and COB 1 and has been guarded by a chain link fence is finally complete. Here is our first look.

DSC_0069Wednesday, June 22, The University of California, Merced was proud to announce the grand opening of its newest addition for students, COB 2, with a grand ribbon cutting ceremony. The ceremony included a performance from UC Merced’s Yamabuki Taiko team and a reception that allowed attendees to preview the mysteries inside.

“The stairway is the exclamation point,” lead architect Tim Stevens said proudly. “Looking at this expression just draws you in.”

COB 2 looms in the courtyard between the library and COB, contrasting itself with yellow hues from the glass windows and the grey walls and columns. The project has been in the works for just about a year. From sandlot to skeleton to structure, students have a new place to study here on campus.DSC_0044 (1)

“I think that one of the inspirations was that there wasn’t an outdoor space that people used,” said Stevens about the new building. “Part of the planning used was the courtyard. The outdoor space between the library and COB.”

COB 2 offers an innate modern look both inside and out, with more thought put into accessibility and comfort for both students and faculty so that the best of all the buildings shines through. Both second and third floors offer office-like study areas, as well as colorful lounges for student collaborations and modernized classrooms. It provides a feel that follows the form of the Kolligian Library and the third floor of COB 1.

The ground floor offers large classrooms, like its predecessor. Similarly, both have a large auditorium. However COB 2’s seating is more comfortable in comparison. Another classroom bears striking resemblance to the classroom style of the Student Services Building (SSB).

“From a tech standpoint, the building is spectacular,” said Tech Enhanced Space Lead Analyst, Jodon Bellofatto.

Teal RoomThe cherry on top (or in this case, the bottom) is the Technology Enhanced Active Learning (T.E.A.L.) room. This room allows for professors and lecturers to save “presets” for the room specific to their teaching style and technology needs making this room the most technologically advanced classroom on campus.

“The tech alone sets it apart from any space on campus…its design was critical. It has to be more instructional than a general study space,” noted Bellofatto. “It’s gonna be a great opportunity to both teach and learn; nationwide, it’s used by places like MIT and Stanford!”

The technology in COB 2 is revolutionary for students and professors, with many more new features offered. One classroom offers a lab bench where professors can project in-class demonstrations. All halls include a lecture capture which, with the permission of the professor, records lectures that students can access later on. This is all done while maintaining the school’s goal of sustainability.

“My thing I was happy to do, is that every projector is laser; less heat, less energy consumption,” Bellofatto said proudly. “The IT [department] tried to be responsive to meet the various types of teaching, while meeting sustainability through technology.”

Photo Credit: Blanca Ramirez, Anjeliko San Mateo

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