Students favor updates to University Center
Out of 5,300 students surveyed, 4,900 showed support for renovations to the University Center, a student fees-funded, 42-year-old campus facility.
The UC Complex and the UC Satellite Master Plan Concept Testing Survey was conducted to determine students’ reception and fee tolerance to renovation options chosen by UC officials.
"We have never seen a survey here at UH with results quite like ours," said UC 2010 Co-Chair and hotel and restaurant management junior Nicole Sopko. "Out of 5,300 results, 4,900 said that something needs to be done about the UC."
Option C was favored by most students surveyed through the UH listserv, and will put to a second student vote later this month.
Out of 5,096 respondents, 35.16 percent of students said they would be very likely to support renovation Option C, 35.24 percent said they would be somewhat likely to support it, 17.35 percent said they would be somewhat unlikely to support it and 12.24 percent said they would not support it at all.
Under Option C, the UC services and other spaces would undergo significant relocation and reconfiguration to improve visibility, access and convenience at an estimated cost of $100 million. To help circulate and increase interior activity space, this option would also allow for an enclosed arbor instead of the open arbor at the existing facility.
Option C would also add expanded food service, lounge space and modernized service features. All building systems would be updated with easier accessibility along with a new outdoor space for gatherings and socializing, as well as events, programs and activities.
Sopko said she, along with English senior and UC 2010 Initiative Co-Chair Micah Kenfield, talked with students last week about voting for Option C and showed them graphic designs and cost percentages for each option.
"Option C is probably the best out of the four options," said architecture graduate Ruijun Hao "The facility and the circulation provides a design for students’ convenience."
Option D, which would call for the construction of a new facility, was favored by 2,825 students, but carried one side effect – 25 percent of the students said no to Option D because they were concerned about parking problems resulting from construction of the new facility. The new building would be located in Lot 1E, behind the current UC and in front of Melcher Hall, and students said they wanted to keep the UC’s location.
"The building right now has a great structure, it’s built out of concrete and it’s not going to fall anytime soon," Sopko said, "We wouldn’t go and trash all this to make more waste in the world when we can use what we have."
Option C is now the only being considered and if approved by UH System Board of Regents and the Texas Legislature, would call for a $25 student fee increase, which would begin in Fall 2010.
Students will be able to cast a vote either in favor or against the renovation option for the UC 2010 Initiative at the UC Student Referendum on Nov. 18 and 19. Confirmed voting locations include the UC, the UC Satellite, Agnes Arnold Hall and M.D. Anderson Library.
"Voting is our first step as alumni in making a change." Sopko said.
The renovation project is slated for completion between 2014 and 2015.
For more information about the UC 2010 Initiative, visit www.uh.edu/uc2010.