New student center design nearly finalized


by Rob Stewart

Architects unveiled a possible design for the new student center last week in a meeting with students and staff administrators. The design is currently in the revision phase.

Despite the detailed designs and specific discussions at Tuesday’s meeting, the college administration isn’t ready to commit, at least in print, to anything at the moment.

According to Dean of Students Jim Thorius, there are no plans to build a new student center, yet.

The decision to build depends entirely on raising enough funds for the project, Thorius said.

According to representatives from WTW Architects and SVPA Architects Inc., construction on the new student center will include a renovation of Pfeiffer Dining Hall and an expansion toward Buxton Park between Kresge and Barker Halls.

“We completed this study over a year ago and now we’re back starting what’s called schematic design,” said architect Bryant Robey of WTW Architects. “Which is again revisiting all the programming issues, all the sitting issues, all the interface issues with the building, talking through all the different pieces and starting to give it some reality, and from that, we’ll create documents and we’ll build.”

Possible renovation ideas include: a roof-top terrace, a ballroom, the conversion of Great Hall into a pub-like student lounge equipped with all the latest diversions, a beefed up Storm Street Grill, improvements to the dining area and spaces for student organizations.

The main purpose of the meeting was for the architects to get student and faculty reaction to their latest in a series of designs.

However, the architects seemed more concerned with what the students thought of the design. They repeatedly asked for any and all input students thought would improve the design.

“I was impressed with the genuine concern for what the students wanted,” junior Jen Tyler said.

The architects received various ideas from students. Ideas ranged from a request for more interior lighting to a debate over the need for an indoor climbing wall. There was talk of whether to install traditional games in the new lounge area, such as pool versus newer technology-based entertainment like a console and Internet games.