SGA student senators saw the first visual representation of what a newly renovated Student Activities Center might look like at Tuesday night’s SGA meeting. Dean of Students Michael Mardis, along with a representative from Hastings and Chivetta architectural firm, attended the meeting as promised six weeks ago. After nearly an hour of discussion, senators unanimously voted to approve their Resolution to Direct Further Action Regarding the SAC Renovation.
The three-dimensional animations of the SAC were put together at what Mardis called an “aggressive timeline.” SGA President Monali Haldankar urged student senators to keep an open mind throughout the presentation, as the artistic depictions represented the first drafts of the renovation plan.
The plan in the renderings, what administrators are calling “option A,” is estimated to cost between $32 and 38 million. Mardis told senators that funding negotiations were still ongoing. He listed the $9 million Student Building Fee, Sodexo, Barnes and Noble, U of L Athletics and the University of Louisville as potential sources of funds for the project.
The tentative “option A” depicts a SAC with a facade inspired by the Student Recreation Center’s facade. The design is modern, with natural light and open space. One defining feature of “option A” is the removal of the SAC ramp. A project goal is to create a “living room for campus,” or a place for students to hang out comfortably both inside and outside the building.
Services Vice President Morgan Cooksey said that the SAC and SRC will become “bookends” for the campus. A newly renovated SAC, she says, will cater to the needs of growing U of L campus life. “Considering the future of the university, we need to think about our transformation as a school,” said Cooksey to the senate.
Many of the designs for the SAC will be finalized over the summer months. SGA’s resolution regarding the SAC will hold student leaders accountable when they sit on SAC renovation advisory committees this summer. The resolution requests that, if plans for “option A” fall through for any reason, the original $9.4 million SAC East plan be continued without delay.
The architectural firm tasked with the project, Hastings and Chivetta, has worked at over 207 campuses across the country. The architect who visited U of L mentioned experience with multiple student centers, including a recent design for the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Tim Moore, director of student activities and the SAC, declined a request for copies of the architect’s renderings at this time. He says that a more definitive depiction of the renovation plan would be available by fall 2015, after the advisory committees meet this summer.