In total, the landing zones will seat 97 students. (Photo courtesy of Jack Washington)
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TCU will continue to offer students areas to study outside of their room this semester.

The landing zones, which were introduced last semester as the university adopted new protocols for COVID-19, will return for the spring.

Assistant Director for Campus Planning Jack Washington said that they will also look different.

In total, the landing zones will seat 97 students. (Photo courtesy of Jack Washington)

“I will say, the use was not particularly high last semester,” said Washington. “I would walk them a couple of times a week, so, in the spirit of continuous improvement, we’ve worked this semester a lot more with marketing and communications to get the word out there to students about the locations of those spaces.”

This semester, there will be three landing zones, as opposed to the five that existed last semester.

The landing areas spread across different campus locations: Mary Couts Burnett Library, Room 1208; Smith Hall, Room 1520 A/B and Sadler Hall, Room 30000.

They are open from 8 a.m.- 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Outdoor study tents will also return to campus in early March, Washington said.

The Mary Couts Burnett Library landing zone has a capacity of 20 seats. (Photo courtesy of Jack Washington)

Both zones and tents are equipped with power outlet towers and will be regularly sanitized.

An alternative environment

Tracy Hull, the dean of the Mary Couts Burnett Library, said the purpose of the landing zones is to give students a space to attend an online class outside of their dorm rooms.

Hull has worked for TCU for over 13 years and has been the dean for the past six months.

“I think it’s taking into consideration some of the challenges that students might face in terms of handling online classes,” said Hull. “You can’t assume that a student can sit in their apartment, home or dorm room. It’s a really nice outlet to allow students to use these spaces for their classwork.”

Hull also said that TCU does a great job at recognizing the needs of their students and she believes the landing zones are a good example of that.

Student Response

TCU updated the interactive map that highlights the location of the three landing zones.

Carla Robertson, a first-year theatre major, said she uses the landing zones and study tents every day because they give her a chance to be in-tune with nature.

Robertson also said the landing zones give students a peaceful place for their classwork without the distractions of being in a dorm room.

“For me, studying outside while sitting in the grass or under a tent with fruits and a shake is always peaceful and it gives my mind a chance to roam,” said Robertson. “The landing zones give us [students] the option to where we won’t always be confined to our rooms.”

Sophomore dance major Kira Daniel said she uses the landing zones because she doesn’t always have access to the dance studio, so the landing zones provide space for her to dance.

“I think they [landing zones] add a sense of freedom and fresh air,” said Daniel. “Having to deal with COVID and everything, we as students have been confined to one space (our room) and I’ve found that these landing zones have been the perfect place to go to get away from dorm life and people you know. Sometimes one just needs to be alone to breathe and get things done and the landing zones are perfect for that.”

The King Hall resident also said she thinks the landing zones do not get much use because of lack of knowledge about them.

Tiony Cooper, a sophomore political science major, said she does not use the landing zones because some students don’t follow COVID-19 regulations.

“I believe that the landing zones are probably the most beneficial to underclassmen who share spaces with people,” said Cooper. “Students who live in apartments or dorms where they have their own space probably feel safest in their rooms.”

Cooper also said her favorite landing zone was the furniture in the commons because she was able to hang out with her friends and feel a sense of community.

Brad Thompson, assistant director of student activities, said the furniture will return to the Campus Commons on March 1 and will remain there until the end of the semester.