Introduction to Study

The Kaufman Building has both a rich history and an exciting future. Its past tells a unique story about the red-brick building and the variety of people who have had the chance to enjoy it. Kaufman was built as a factory in the late 1940s.  Several occupants have been in and out of the building, but the most long-lasting occupant was the Reeves Hoffman division of the Dynamics Corporation who produced crystals and quartz for use in electronics.  The crystal industry was a booming industry in Carlisle over the 1950s and 60s and the Kaufman building kept expanding as a result of the need for more space.  However, by the 1970’s, the crystal production technology improved and the crystal industry became globalized.  By the late 1990’s the building’s image as a factory was nearing an end.  Dickinson College saw this closed down factory as an opportunity and in 2003 purchased the Kaufman building to serve as a temporary academic building, while the James Building (another academic building on campus) was demolished to make room for the three part science complex called Rector.

Birds-eye view of Kaufman from Cherry Street side (Rhoads, 2009)

 The Kaufman Building became a home to the Environmental Studies, Geology, and Psychology departments along with ALLARM, the Dickinson College Farm, Dickinson Public Safety, and Hanson Technology Inc. Although, the move to the building was initially supposed to be temporary, the Environmental Studies and the Geology departments have grown to appreciate the space that the 98,000 square foot building offers. The directive of the renovation of the Kaufman Building is to turn this temporary surcharge building into a more permanent home of the Environmental Studies and Geology departments. Necessary improvements in order to make the building more welcoming and more integrated into rest of Dickinson’s campus include features such as increasing the natural lighting, adding more common spaces, and making the entrance closer to other academic buildings on campus. More importantly, the image of this building is to be changed in a way that will be able to communicate Dickinson’s sustainability initiative, while also housing the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education (Rhoads, 2009). 

Limestone style building present throughout Dickinson’s campus (Rhoads, 2009)


This building will soon undergo this large renovation. The end goal is to make the building more aesthetically pleasing and more environmentally sustainable and thus, more welcoming to students, faculty, and staff. This being said, the purpose of our study is to collect information about current user satisfaction, which will serve as a foundational study so that the success of the future renovation with regard to user satisfaction can be evaluated. We want to learn about the relationship that people have with the building now and be able to assess how users identify with the building after the renovation.  This project is just a piece of the exciting story that has been and is developing within the Kaufman Building walls. 

The Kaufman Building: the entrance is surrounded by a parking lot (Rhoads, 2009)

To see other projects done about the Kaufman Building go to the Environmental Studies Senior Seminar 2009 homepage by clicking here.