UC survey gives students a voice
Students checking their e-mail boxes Thursday found yet another survey to participate in – or delete. This one regarded options for the renovation or demolition of the University Center including cost estimates, amenities, location and blueprints. It feels good to know that our campus authorities have enough faith in our decisions to allow us to express them through a survey. What is unclear is why they even give us an option when the one they want us to choose is made so attractive compared to the others.
In trying to be an active student participant, the survey instructions were followed exactly. Everything looked great. The ideas put forth were sound, and the updates are desperately needed. However, when it came time to see the actual layout of and the costs we would incur as a result of the renovations, there was a noticeable change. Options one and two barely differed, option three had more to offer the students as far as useable space and option four was simply spectacular in changes, cost and viable space.
The cost increases are understandable, once explained. If a student chooses option A or B, they would be paying for fresh paint, electrical updates, carpeting, minor cosmetic work, some additional lounge space and the like. Option C, costing more, provides all of the same, but adding an atrium, additional retail space and other student gathering spaces. Option D was an all-new building, new floor plan, new shops, new entertainment space, retail space, an atrium and a long list of other additions a newer, larger UC would have space for. All things listed in every option are needed, but again, at what cost? Is it absolutely necessary to have? Would it be detrimental to the students if they were to go without the bells and whistles so that our campus history can continue as well as improve for the future? I think not.
What we are concerned with is how much they expect us to pay and on what kind of incremental schedule the payment increases will follow. For those of you that participated, or plan to soon, think about what the different levels of renovation will mean to our wallets. Don’t get me wrong, our campus is seriously lagging behind the times when our UC is compared to other campuses. We need a major update, but do we really need to demolish a seemingly sturdy building with such a rich history?
The fourth and most grandiose of the choices presented. It is also the most expensive and destructive. Our campus is known for its beautiful trees and lush lawns. Demolition of the UC would be fine, albeit sad, if the plans for the new UC included being built on the same ground. However, the plan is to demolish the old building and rebuild on the land adjacent to its current location. This would leave the area exposed, bare and to put it plainly, ugly.
A couple of the options called for an increase of $13 per semester in student fees to support the cost of the renovation. This means that ecery year for several yearsthe fees would increase by $13. The third option’s increase was more and phased-in as well. The most expansive blueprint claimed the most expensive increase of about $75 more.
UH pride stays with students for years after graduating, and to know that such a vital part of our campus life and history is being considered for demolition is sad. The revamping of the UC is sorely needed to keep our campus up and maintain a popular place for students to gather, but instead of tearing it down and building a new UC in a different location, those in charge of making the decision need to make environmentally sound, student-friendly choices. We have memories with the UC, and as much as we like progress, we all have a little sentimentality too.
If you haven’t done so, participate in this study. Your voice in the matter should be loud enough to be heard.
MousaviDin, a communication junior, can be reached via [email protected]