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Seats in McCosh 50, one of the largest lecture halls at the University.

Photo Credit: Lazarena Lazarova / The Daily Princetonian

The University began renovations on McCosh 50, the largest lecture hall on campus, during the summer of 2019. This was the first phase of a two-part plan, which is expected to be completed during the summer of 2020.

McCosh 50 houses 445 seats. The space is regularly used for larger undergraduate lectures, and to host public presentations and lectures from renowned guest speakers and faculty members. Facilities hopes to improve the visual, auditory, and environmental conditions for those who attend lectures in the hall.

“Princeton students can expect a much improved and updated classroom experience in McCosh 50. The space will be more comfortable for students, and technology upgrades will accommodate the latest teaching tools,” Project Manager Mark Vicente wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian.

The renovation is intended to preserve the historic architectural design and character of McCosh 50, while still providing needed updates to improve learning conditions.

Phase one was designed to deliver new wood ceiling panels to improve sound quality,  perform HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning) work, and add new lighting, paints, and finishes.

The second phase of the renovation project will include the addition of padded seats, a video wall, AV system, new chalkboards, and accessibility improvements.

Photo Credit: Lazarena Lazarova


Each addition to the space has a particular goal in mind. Improved acoustics, for example, will allow for better communication among professors and students.

Added lighting and an improved AV system will allow for students to better see their work and presentations being displayed via projector. New seating will allow for a more comfortable learning experience.

Nobel Laureate and former President of Poland Lech Wałęsa speaks in McCosh 50.

Photo Credit: Kris Hristov / The Daily Princetonian


New flooring will be implemented to prevent distractions caused by the squeaky floorboards currently present in the hall.

Installments focused on accessibility to be made over the summer of 2020 will include additional wheelchair seating locations, a new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramp to provide stage access, and an upgraded assistive listening system.

Students, some of whom have called for McCosh’s seats to be upgraded, were excited upon learning of the renovation project.

Claudia Rabih ’22 called the renovation “a good idea.”

“While the building is historical, the lecture hall is pretty musty and outdated. It’s always hot, which is distracting during class,” she said.  

“The lecture hall has always been a source of complaint,” added Emily Yu ’22, “Especially the small desk sizes — the minor annoyances that really get in the way of class. It’s really great they’re renovating the room.”

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