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UVU: University opens soundproof family study suites and play area for student-parents and young children

By Margaret Chamberlain - Special to the Daily Herald | Feb 4, 2023

Courtesy UVU Marketing

A soundproof suite at Utah Valley University is shown in this undated photo.

In its mission to provide students with greater access to college degrees, Utah Valley University announced new family study suites in the Fulton Library on UVU’s Orem Campus. The dedicated soundproof suites allow parents to study while watching their children in a play area.

The Gibson Family Foundation designed and built the suites for the 14% of UVU students who support at least one child. The suites are a tool to help these students juggle family and school, which can be a barrier to graduation. The private suites are equipped with monitors and webcams that allow students to attend class virtually, collaborate on Microsoft Teams, or have more display space.

“We surveyed many students asking what they really needed — what the problems were, what they thought we could do to better,” said Lesli Baker, director of the Fulton Library. “Designers also consulted with the directors at the Women’s Success Center, which aims to increase graduation rates of women on campus, on what they saw as most beneficial for the space.”

Based on student-parent feedback, the suites are located near the library’s entrance and close to restrooms. They connect to a large, kid-friendly play area with toys for all ages, children’s books, and soundproof sections with “busy boards.” The study room doors are soft-close to prevent door slams and finger jams, and all playrooms are equipped with security cameras, so parents can always watch their children. The suites are soundproof to avoid distracting students studying in the main library.

“We started looking at this as a development project between 2019 and 2020,” Baker said. “Our development officer helped us make the presentation to the Gibson Family, and we had architects who helped us design the space. Plus, we saw an even greater need for students who needed to keep their children more isolated during the COVID pandemic.”

Courtesy UVU Marketing

Students and children play in a soundproof suite at Utah Valley University in this undated photo.

Library directors hope the suites and play area foster success for student-parents and help children feel positive about the library, so they will want to come back. “I hope the suites send a message to students that we are here for them,” Baker said. “It is our reason for being here — to help them succeed.”


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