Students mixed on new center

The proposal for a new student center on campus is taking some students by surprise while also creating mixed reactions to the plan.

At the Chancellor’s Roundtable last Monday, members of the Davies Expansion committee presented their plan to build a new $36.1 million student center. The building would cost each full-time student $140 every semester over three academic years starting in 2004-05.

“I’d like a new center and keep tuition low, but that’s not going to happen,” freshman Jennifer Titlbach said.

The timing of the proposal and its cost has created concerns for senior Brian Babbitt.

“I think it’s bad timing to be spending all this money on expansion of our recreational space,” Babbitt said. “I don’t see why we need a whole new center. The amount that it’s gonna cost is shocking.”

Students would be responsible for paying for the new center through student segregated fees. Babbitt said he thinks the money would be better used for educational programs.

“The economy is on a downhill slide and not a lot of money is being put toward education,” he said. “The fact that we will be spending all this money is a little out there.”

Freshman Andrea Lindquist said she is torn on the issue because she is in favor of repairs, but a lot of students won’t like the extra cost of a new building.

She said she wanted more information on the logistics of making repairs to Davies Center.

All students will have their chance to approve or deny funding for a new student center during the Student Senate elections in early March.

One aspect of the proposed student center is the inclusion of a fitness center in the building, bringing the total number on campus to three.

At last week’s roundtable, committee members said the new fitness center is designed to relieve some of the crowding issues that students complain about at Crest Wellness Center and McPhee.

Lindquist said she spends time running on the indoor track in McPhee and it often is crowded due to intramurals. The extra cost required for membership at the fitness center doesn’t agree with her, however, because she dislikes running on treadmills.

Another part of the plan is a larger student organizations complex. The current complex in Davies is a maze of cubicles for the different campus clubs, organizations, fraternities and sororities.

Committee member Sarah Bolstad said that, if the referendum is voted down, the $8.5 million originally budgeted for renovations would not be enough to adequately repair Davies or expand it.

If students vote down the plan, Bolstad said she doesn’t know what would happen, except that the committee would have to evaluate another option for the center’s future. If the referendum passes, she said, the center would enter the planning phase with a site analysis, building layouts and design.