Editorial: Proposal for SAC renovation needs revision

By on January 17, 2012

The University of Louisville has made it clear to students that expansion is one the key factors to improving our school. New buildings, including the Ville Grille and the to-be-built gym, are being planned for and constructed for student benefit.

At their last meeting, Kurtis Frizzell, president of the Student Government Association, announced one of the many proposed plans to renovate the Student Activities Center, which includes an $11.5 million expansion and the selling of the gym to the Athletics Department to help fund it.

Concerns arise when we break down the proposal’s attainment and use of funds.

What’s most unsettling about the proposal is the drain of the University’s housing reserves to help cover costs; these funds are expected to cover costs in case of emergencies, like flooding. Anyone who lived in Kurz remembers the unexpected flooding during Fall Break – an emergency that would not have been handled as efficiently without those reserves. Would using this money require students to pay a fee to replace lost funds, and could officials justify this extra fee by saying the SAC expansion is extrememly beneficial to students?

What the University plans to do with the added ‘student space’ is largely unknown. A quick visit to Chik-fi-la and the multipurpose room during lunchtime would tell any student that we’re in need of more space. It’s important to note the lack of square footage is available around the SAC – especially those troublesome train tracks – as major obstacles in renovation.

Even when one acknowledges the need for a SAC renovation, many questions remain unanswered. Will the University wait to sell the gym until the new complex is built or leave students without a place to exercise? And will new groups be admitted into the SAC to congregate?

Selling the gym isn’t a completely unreasonable idea. Groups like the Pep Band and dancing team use off-campus areas to practice and certainly deserve closer meeting space. Disagreements arise when price is discussed. Even Frizzell pointed out that the meager $2 million price tag for the athletic space is an unfit bargain. Is the price worth the loss of a prime gym location?

One must remember that these plans are only a proposal; it will go through several rounds of revision before it becomes final. But with all these concerns, how will this proposal be passed, with student approval, without undergoing drastic change?

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Photo/Flickr: University of Louisville

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