SGA, administrators visit student centers for DUC renovation ideas

Mike Stunson

The Student Government Association tabled its resolution to support the Downing University Renovation project last month, but the SGA has been hard at work to get the project underway again.

Nine SGA members, as well as WKU administrators and architects for the project, traveled to seven different universities this past week, examining each of their student centers to gather ideas for the DUC renovation.

“It was eye opening to see how things in DUC could be better,” SGA President Colton Jessie said

The group was given tours by building managers and students at Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio University, Ohio State, Ohio Dominican University, Ball State and Indiana University-Pudue University-Indianapolis.

Now Jessie said he’s ready to bring something new to DUC.

“A lot of university centers are built with more of a student feel, and that is kind of a sobering thought since ours isn’t as much that way,” he said.

Plans to renovate DUC began in November, but when Jessie felt there was not enough student input to continue the project at the time, the resolution was tabled until the spring semester.

John Osborne, vice president for Campus Services and Facilities, said the renovation plans are in their “programming phase — before we put lines on paper.”

“We think that we already know how much money it will take in the form of a (student) fee to do that at a maximum level,” Osborne said Wednesday. “Those kind of things are already in the works.”

Osborne is optimistic that this week’s tour will result in SGA having more information to move the process along.

“It’s truly a case of Western not wanting to do this project unless there’s student support, and student support starts with student government,” he said.

Jessie said administrator presence was good to have during the trip.

“They helped, but they let us ask questions on our own which was very good for us,” he said.

The first SGA meeting of the spring 2011 semester is Tuesday, and Jessie said he expects it to be a long one.

“We came back with a lot of knowledge about the student center, so we will need to discuss pros and cons at the meeting,” he said.