California State University, Northridge’s new Maple Hall, a $43.4 million academic building packed with technological advancements, is scheduled for completion November 1.

Formerly known as Sierra Annex, Maple Hall is a 62,000-square-foot academic building and sister building to Sierra Hall, along Etiwanda Street at the south end of campus.

Built by the Gilbane Building Company and the architecture firm Gensler, Maple Hall is a classroom-only building with no offices for faculty. The complex will contain 38 classrooms ranging from 20-seat classrooms to a 130-seat auditorium. CSUN has filled these classrooms with technology, including HyFlex and smart displays, that improve the academic experience for students and teachers alike. The large open lobby has seating areas for students to form study groups or socialize under natural light.

A construction worker holds an epoxy gun while re-examining glass panels at Sierra Annex, Maple Hall, Northridge, California, on March 16, 2023. (Solomon O. Smith)

“Sierra Annex is built around a modern college degree,” said Ken Rosenthal, associate vice president of Facilities Development and Operations. “The new classrooms promote active learning among students.”

With an emphasis on flexibility and comfort, the classrooms allow students to rearrange the furniture to facilitate breakout sessions. Lecture halls use curved, stepped rows of seating so students can have a clear view of the entire room.

The rooms are not only specially designed for the learning of the students but also for the comfort of the teachers. Classrooms will have a presentation screen at the back of the room so that the professor can easily teach facing his students instead of having to look back and forth.

“Three lecture halls and two seminar rooms will all be HyFlex technology, which means you can have cameras and audio for both students and faculty in the room,” said Diane Stephens, associate vice president of academic resources and planning. “You can assign someone to teach in HyFlex mode, where you have a group of students present online at the same time as the in-person class.”

Teaching HyFlex began in 2006, but it quickly exploded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing most schools to consider alternatives to in-person classes.

The building’s security features include gunshot detection systems, security cameras, lockable classrooms, and emergency coercion systems.

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The original launch date for the building was the beginning of the fall semester of 2023, but the project was delayed for three months, according to Rosenthal.

“We experienced delays mainly due to two things: supply line issues due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and recent rains,” Rosenthal said.

Construction will now be completed on November 1, and will likely open to students and teachers in the spring of 2024.

This academic building will be CSUN’s first new complex since 2009. The university announced the project in 2021, although designs for the building began on December 21, 2020 by Gilban and Gensler. The two companies also built the Associated Student Sustainability Center in 2017, which has won awards for its many facilities.

When the new complex is complete, approximately 557 classes will be moved from Sierra Hall to Maple Hall to make way for renovations to the old building in 2025.

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