By Carole Braun
Nonstop has moved to a space as innovative and arty as the Institute’s aspirations. Its new location in Millworks, 305 North Walnut Street, hosts its official open house on Friday evening, Feb. 6. The new Nonstop space is a work of art and a showcase for renovation with recycled and energy-efficient resources. In contrast to Nonstop’s previous location in a small house on Davis Street, the space provides extra room for staff and more options for students.
The transformation of the site from a plastics factory into the new home of the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute will be completed by February 6, except for the construction of some rolling walls, according to Michael Casselli (1987). Casselli, whose own space is around the corner at Millworks, designed the renovation and is project supervisor.
The inclusiveness of the project was important, said Casselli. Townspeople, faculty, students and alums have worked on the space daily since fall to prepare for the opening. And since Nonstop moved here in December the construction and administrative staff have worked side by side.
The Nonstop space includes a main space, an atrium, a CG balcony, a library, a kitchen and an office area. The main plan was to create a space that is “open– but not totally open—to share heat and light,” said Casselli. Even the heat from the server is siphoned off and recycled into the office area. A Nonstop science class this term will be developing measurement sensors and controls to help balance heating needs in the entire space.
Almost all of the space has been renovated with recycled materials. “Everything but the lighting fixtures,” Casselli said. “The old ones weren’t efficient.” Small skylights called sola tubes dot the ceilings. Domed solar collectors on the roof reflect light through a tube into diffusers above offices. On a sunny day sola tubes reduce the need to turn on lights in areas where there are few windows. Another innovation is layering translucent polycarbonate over existing windows to help heat interiors. The polycarbonate not only insulates, it generates heat from sunlight.
The library, with glowing yellow walls lined with shelves, will have two matching work stations. Casselli wants the space to be “visually balanced so it’s not distracting. It helps with work.” The library will also include matching planters made from recycled material and filled with greenery. A kiosk for email will sit in the corner of the space.
The main space also will feature a kitchen, rolling worktables for student art projects and presentations, a projection area for large groups, and a geodesic dome on wheels for meetings. Manufactured by Antioch alum Bruce Lebel as an emergency shelter, the dome will be used for Comcil, Excil and other meetings. The dome will hold 25 chairs which by necessity will be arranged in a circle.
Overlooking the main space is the balcony CG Office. Community Managers Meghan Pergrem and Chelsea Martens are decorating the space to make it familiar, cozy and welcoming for students. The furniture is arranged reminiscent of the furniture in the old campus CG office. Photographs of Birch and North hang where the windows looked out on similar campus views.
At the end of community meeting last week, members sponged their hands with paint and autographed their handprints on the CG balcony. The area is ringed with chalkboards for community art and graffiti. There is a rooftop smoker’s lounge, a dumbwaiter for delivering items upstairs and space for a future student media workstation. And students are hanging out already, said Nic Viox, first-year student.
“The CG space is awesome,” he said. “And it will be more cozy and homelike once we get more furniture in it.” In addition to being a student, Nic is a member of the construction crew. He’s currently working on completing the main space bench and the roof of the atrium.