SGA to hear from Aramark about Garrett renovations

Dustin Skipworth

The Student Government Association will be meeting with Aramark district manager Steve Hoyng to discuss getting student input for renovations to Garrett Conference Center.

Hoyng met with President Jay Todd Richey to establish some baselines and discuss how best to get student input.

“We discussed a multiyear effort to completely renovate and redesign Garrett Student Union,” Richey said.

Sawyer Coffey, the director of public relations for SGA, was also present for the meeting with Hoyng.

“We’d like to get more freshmen involved with this project,” Coffey said. “SGA is going to be able to call upon key influential people within the student body.”

Renovations for Garrett were previously listed on the 2014-2015 WKU capital budget at $6 million for planning and renovations on the second floor. The entire renovation could take three or more years to complete, according to Coffey.

Richey and Coffey brainstormed in the meeting with Hoyng and came up with several possibilities.

“I’d like it to look very futuristic,” Richey said.

Some suggestions included glass walls in the study area, a rooftop garden and a more sustainable energy plan.

Garrett’s current design is somewhat less than futuristic. It was built in 1951 and only recently received some much-needed attention.

Cindy Morris, the current operations manager at Garrett, said the building was in bad shape when she moved there during the renovations of Downing Student Union.

“It looked like a funeral home,” Morris said. “People came here to sleep.”

Garrett received a new coat of paint, furniture and carpet to liven up the space. Morris said those changes have helped the building come back to life.

Despite the building becoming more popular with students, there are still major problems with Garrett.

“The infrastructure needs to be changed,” Morris said.

Morris said there is no air conditioning in Garrett’s kitchen, and kitchen employees sometimes collapse from heat exhaustion.

As for how SGA will be getting student input, it might try several different avenues.

“I think we are looking at more of a focus group effort,” Coffey said. “We might just reach out to student groups, but I don’t think we’ll have any problems reaching out to students.”