Student Union officials are pushing their campaign for renovation despite unexpected student opposition to the increase in fees the project would require.
The large-scale remodeling would cost students an extra $16 of student fees every year for 30 years, starting in the 2011-12 academic year.
The proposed project, called UCommons, features a remodeled ground floor that would be open 24 hours. The proposed floor boasts a larger cabaret, rehearsal rooms, a healthy alternative to the coming Wendy’s, meeting rooms and an interactive lounge, among other amenities.
Union officials met resistance after presenting the project to the student affairs committee of Student Congress. They will need Congress to decide with a 2/3 majority for the fee to come up for a student vote.
Don Luse, director of the Student Union, said he views the proposal as a continuation of work done several years ago that left out the first floor and east wing for financial reasons.
But now, he said, construction prices are low and it is time to do something with the unused space. The bottom floor currently houses the cabaret, a lounge and an unused bowling alley.
“We’re trying to provide a flexible 24/7 space that students can be in to study, get leadership training and be engaged with innovative projects,” he said.
Tony Patterson, senior associated director of the Student Union, said he thinks the space is grossly under-utilized as is.
“There isn’t a good space for students to be active 24/7,” Patterson said. “We’re going for an energetic environment.”