SGA pushes back DUC renovations

Mike Stunson

Plans for the renovation of Downing University Center have hit a snag.

At Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting, senators decided to table the bill that would support the renovation project, saying they hadn’t received enough student input.

They’ll now have to wait until next semester to continue with the project.

SGA President Colton Jessie said it would be a disservice to students to run the bill through without slowing down.

“They elected us to be their voice, and I’d like to hear their voice a little more before we move forward,” Jessie said.

SGA found out about the renovation project on Nov. 16 when President Gary Ransdell and head architect Jeff Stivers spoke to the student senators. They said students will make most of the decisions regarding the renovations.

Stivers said he isn’t upset about the delay and understands the importance of more student input.

“I understand the responsibilities of the senators, and I don’t have a problem with the delay – we can deal with it,” Stivers said. “It’s a busy time on campus so timing was not ideal to move the project forward.”

Jessie was concerned SGA was moving too fast with the resolution, since they’ve only known about the renovation plans for three weeks.

“That’s not a lot of time, especially when we are trying to learn everything too,” he said.

The renovation project would create a new student fee of $70 per semester, said Kaylee Egerer, campus improvements chairperson.

She said she felt students should be more aware of this before they approve the resolution.

“There was one day I was sitting outside before class, and I was thinking about how everyone will have to pay $140 a year,” she said. “Not many of them know about this yet.”

Jessie said they were hoping to present plans to the Board of Regents at the board’s next meeting on Jan. 21, but they will now have to wait until the next meeting on April 22.

Plans for the project have to be approved by the Board of Regents before any work is done.

Egerer said the delay will give SGA plenty of time to get more student input.

“I’ve talked about it at my (Alpha Omicron Pi) meeting, and I can see myself doing that with all of the other Greek organizations,” Egerer said.

Stivers said that even though SGA can’t present its plans until April, it can still put in work on the project.

“It is important to start discussions to decide what will actually be in the newly-renovated building, besides just a 24/7 study space,” he said. “We will be using the SGA website and may start our own Facebook page for students to put in their input.”

Jessie said he hopes senators will be able to move forward with plans a few weeks into next semester.

“Right now it is on us, so I don’t want to get too far into the semester without moving forward,” he said.