Student Affairs hopes to give Houston Room a makeover

The Houston Room – University Center’s premier event auditorium – will soon be undergoing a massive face-lift as part of the UC Transformation Project.
Several upgrades are necessary not only to keep the room up-to-code, but also to improve functionality and aesthetics said Keith Kowalka, assistant vice president for Student Affairs. Several options are up for discussion.
“One of the add-alternates is replacing all the carpet, replacing the room dividers, upgrading the stage, refurbishing the floor and doing some enhancements to the AV booth to make it more efficient,” Kowalka said.
Technicians that work with the Houston Room’s AV booth have a hard time with the current system, Kowalka said.
“It has three windows, and the windows on the end are on the same track. You can only open a third of the windows at any one time,” Kowalka said.
“They have to stick their heads out the window to hear what’s going on in the room.”
A wide variety of events from conferences to magic shows take place there, Kowalka said. Aside from charging for the AV system and the staff to support it, the room is free for student events.
“We have step shows in there. We have concerts. We have poetry readings. It’s really a potpourri room,” Kowalka said.
Hugo Soto, supply-chain management junior, thinks the room is in good condition, but assumed that the Houston Room would be renovated along with the UC renovations.
“The room was in good condition,” Soto said. “I’ve been there multiple times, for the Gong Show and I’ve also attended other events there.”
According to the report the division of Student Affairs submitted to the Student Fees Advisory Committee this year, the projected cost for the Houston Room renovation is $900,000.
However, the exact figure has not yet been reached, Kowalka said.
“We have to get a set price on that add-alternate as well as several others,” Kowalka said.
“We won’t know, actually, until January what components will be able to be included in the Houston Room full renovation.”
Anh Mai, public relations senior, did not notice anything physically wrong with the room during an event, but said he saw the people presenting the show having issues with the sound system.
“I feel that it was really nice. It had really high-tech equipment. There are two large TVs up there and it does not look like it deserves so much money,” Mai said.
“There were some technical problems with the TVs, some more with the microphones and the musics, but I think that was more a problem with the people operating it back stage.”
Beau McGlasson, liberal studies freshman, said he was surprised to hear that the Houston Room was in need of renovation.
“It’s a nice-size space,” he said. “I was perfectly fine with it.”


  • Would it hurt them to actually get recycling bins in there? It’s unacceptable as a Tier 1 University that we are not being as steadfast in our committments to being sustainable when bins are not being provided in heavy trafficked locations like the Houston Room.

    I think the Houston Room is fine in appearance. Maybe fix up the audio/technical stuff, add bins, and that’s it.

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