February 24, 2015

SGA update: Senate feels “blindsided” by new SAC renovation plans

SGA update

One year ago, the Student Government Association fought to keep the old gym space in the Student Activities Center for student use.

At tonight’s SGA Senate meeting, however, University representatives presented a plan that might replace the 2013 plan to change the old gym space into student meeting rooms. The new plan would look into updates for the entire building, not just the old gym space.

“We have an opportunity that really wasn’t there in the past, in that we have partners, our partners in the University who have wanted to come to the table with more money,” said Dean of Students Michael Mardis.

Dean Mardis was accompanied by Senior Vice president for Finance and Administration Harlan Sands, Kevin Miller from U of L Athletics, Associate Vice President for Business Affairs Mitchell Payne and David Martin, the director of contract administration and procurement services.

The group asked the Student Government Association for a 6-week period to evaluate the possible funding options from partners, which they declined to name at this meeting, and create a new renovation plan for the SAC.

“I feel blindsided. I’m just going to say that,” said Graduate Senator Femmy Rose to the Senate.

While the University officials argued that the entire SAC, rather than a small portion, needed to be renovated, SGA Senators were skeptical of this proposal.

“What else is in it for us? I want to see specifics, numbers, something I can wrap my head around,” said Graduate Vice President Benjamin Leamon.

Graduate Senator Ryan Luke asked if students would have anywhere to meet on campus during the SAC renovations.

“Space on campus is priceless. We don’t have anywhere to go. $9 million: that’s what the space is worth to us,” said Ryan.

After an hour of discussion, the Senate voted to give the 6-week extension to the University. In addition, they voted to require an updated business plan from the University in four weeks.

Dean Mardis promised to return to the SGA Senate on April 7 to continue the discussion.

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