The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

New Davies commission forms

In 1959, UW-Eau Claire did not have the same appearance that it does today. Hibbard, Schneider and Phillips halls were absent from lower campus, Katherine Thomas and Putnam were the only two residence halls and “the Hill” was not in service.

Also during this time came the addition of Davies Center to Lower Campus.

Last March a referendum for the construction of a new $36.1 million student center failed after students voted 435 to 386 to see the center remain as is.

Before the end of spring semester, Student Senate President Adrian Klenz proposed to Vice Chancellor Andy Soll a new committee that would assist in informing students about the center.

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Exploratory Committee on the Future of Davies Center

Faculty members: Joey Bohl, interim associate director; Paul Butrymowicz, student services coordinator; William Harms, associate vice chancellor; Mitch Kilcrease, centers and programs director; and Thomas Patt, director of university recreation.

Student members: Juniors Julie Carey, Kate Demerse, Anthony Eichberger and seniors Brian Babbitt and Kevin Funk

On Sept. 25, the Exploratory Committee on the Future of Davies Center was formed when the remaining vacant positions were filled. The 10-member committee consists of five students and five faculty members.

“I think (the committee) will have a chance to be more successful,” Klenz said. “It’s important there is a student face to this.”

The committee will focus on several goals, which include reviewing the work of last year’s committee, examining the center’s data, researching other centers and determining a direction for Davies.

Its main focus, however, is on informing the students, Klenz said.

“We have to figure out what the next step is,” he said. “We need to figure out what students want.”

Soll and Klenz appointed the members of the committee. They will both operate it, but will not be directly involved in it, Soll said.

“I see the committee as doing work and proposing recommendations,” he said.

This year’s committee will be dealing with informational efforts, not facility-related issues, Soll added.

Even though the committee is different in terms of its members from last year, Soll said that this won’t have an imperative effect on its success.

“It’s effective because it has a different purpose,” he said.

Junior Kate Demerse, the Student Senate vice president, said the committee will be more successful this time around due to public awareness.

“If this is to come to a referendum, students need to be educated farther in advance,” she said. “It needs to be a large campaign to inform students of the facts.”

Klenz said one of the main reasons the referendum failed last year was due to timing.

The budget cuts and the amount of time students had to absorb the information were contributors to the referendum’s failure, he said.

Davies received its first addition in 1964, which doubled its size. Another expansion was added to the east end of the building in 1976. Further updates occurred in 1982 and 1991.

Despite the new approach, Associate Vice Chancellor William Harms said he thinks it will be difficult for a new referendum to be proposed by the end of the academic year.

Soll said there won’t be any pressure on the committee because there isn’t a timetable.

“It’s a roll-up-your-sleeve-and-go-to-work type of committee,” Harms said.

The first meeting will take place at 10 a.m. today.

“Usually first meetings focus on the charge of the committee and how to progress from there,” Demerse said.

Regardless of how the committee performs, Klenz said eventually something must be done with Davies, stressing that in the past people made decisions about its future, even if they would no longer attend the university.

“This is a student building,” Klenz said. “It’s ours and we need to decide what to do with it.”

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