FAQs: Practice Rooms during Construction

by necmusic

We’ve heard that there are concerns among students, alumni, and parents that the chronic practice room shortage will be exacerbated this fall by the neighborhood construction, here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions. If you have others, please feel free to send an email to askmike@necmusic.edu

Q: Why were students shut out of practice rooms this summer with no notification?

A: We estimate that approximately 10 students/alumni were directly affected beginning around July 20, and we understand their frustration.  Although the exterior practice rooms on the second and third floor of the Brown Hall building (and a few spaces in the Williams Hall building) were closed for construction, there was still space available in the St. Botolph Building, the basement of Jordan Hall, and on the interior rim of the second and third floors in Brown. These may not have been some students’ preferred rooms, but they were available.

An extensive Construction Communications plan was formulated during the summer and, as part of that, a web page on the construction project was launched in late July with facts and links. We will update these regularly so anyone with questions should consult them.

Q: Because some of the practice rooms were locked, I couldn’t access instruments, like drum sets.

A: The construction crew kept some of the jazz practice rooms unlocked as long as they could without risking the safety of students. If there were student belongings in the locked rooms, Security would have allowed their owners to retrieve them. If students needed to use instruments in the affected practice rooms, Building Operations would have relocated them– if they had been asked.

Q: What’s going to happen in the fall when school starts? I hear that there will be a drastic shortage of practice rooms.

A: Most of the normal complement of practice rooms will be available as usual. Project Manager Steve Derochea says his goal is to have the practice rooms on the second and third floor of Brown Hall back in operation when school starts. His crew is currently removing radiators, installing duct work, and mounting the air-conditioning/heating registers on the walls. This will allow them to concentrate on the hallways where they are hanging ducts and electrical wiring. Then when school starts, they will only need to cycle through practice rooms to do the hook ups to the registers. Steve estimates that he will be able to do about six rooms a day in this phase and much of the work will be done in the early mornings. Once all the climate control is finished, then the work crews will need to go back into the rooms—on a staged basis—to put in the window protection (a thick sandwich of acoustic material, plywood, and plasterboard). This will probably begin in October. Again, this will only affect a few rooms at a time and probably only for a day each.

Q: Why are you giving us air-conditioning but taking away practice rooms?

A: The vast majority of practice rooms will be available as usual. Those affected by the construction are those in close proximity to the Northeastern and YMCA projects. The whole point of the work in these rooms is to alleviate as much as possible the noise and dust from the big construction taking place VERY close to our buildings.  Students would otherwise find these rooms uninhabitable.  What’s more, because we are able to permanently install air-conditioning and new heating systems, the practice rooms will be much more comfortable long after the construction is over.

Q: Is anything being done to supplement the number of practice rooms?

A: Yes, NEC administration is looking into renting or borrowing space where students can practice. More about that to come…

Violinist practicing in #124 on August 15

Jazz practice room with AC register on wall