New Campus Center Calls For New Plan


by Tara Maurer

The new campus center plans are becoming a reality, and students met to discuss details with WTW Architects last Wednesday, Nov. 3 to hear first-hand what is going to happen.

Paul Knell, partner of WTW, stated that the main point of the meeting was to let the architects listen. The architects are drawing up all new plans since the original plan was to only renovate the standing center.

“The ground rules have changed,” Knell said. “The whole building is being torn down, so we have a lot more opportunity.”

Knell said that they wanted to get rid of the concrete, and make the campus center a place where people wanted to gather.

“A campus center needs to be the ‘living room’ of campus,” Knell said.

Members of the audience included people from the Student Government Association (SGA), Campus Activities Board, Resident Life and also a number of class senators.

Knell encouraged every person in the room to share an idea of what they wanted to see in the center.

Ideas included a pub, art gallery, coffee shop, sports bar and a multicultural area.

The majority of students liked the idea of including a “wow factor,” and ideas such as waterfalls and giant maple trees were given.

Overall, students wanted a place where they would actually want to be in. They said they wanted a center that “has more than a few couches” that would provide them with a space to “get away” from their classes and be able to relax.

“This place is a little too taken over by faculty and staff,” said Tyson Wirtz, junior and student body vice president. “I hate having class in this building. It should be illegal.”

Rich Ramos, assistant dean of students and director of student activities, said he wants to see a more active place for students.

“I want to see a more functional building,” Ramos said. “As the students and college have changed, it has become less functional. I want to see a building that’s vibrant and exciting, a place people want to be at, a place where people come and hang out and a place where a ton of things are going on at one time.”

Knell asked the students to think about whether they wanted a campus center or a student center. He said that there was a major difference.

While some students said the new center should be a student center, other said it should be a campus center. Overall, an emphasis was placed on the idea of community.

“We’re all here for students [and] to give them a great experience and to give them what they are expecting,” Ramos said. “A campus center is a community space. It brings students, faculty, staff and alumni together to build the community.”

Having been a part of student, staff and faculty meetings, Vice President for Student Development Jim Thorius said that none of the groups are terribly far off from each other in what they want in the center.

“There were a lot of similarities from the things you heard last night with the students [to staff and faculty meetings],” Thorius said. “I don’t think there were any surprises, or necessarily anything unexpected. I thought there was consistency.”