Campus Renovations Need Student Input

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USF will soon undergo a major reconstruction plan that will revitalize the University Center and the Phelan Residence Hall. Many of the offices in Phelan Hall will be relocated into the UC (including the Office of Residence Life, the bookstore, and offices for student groups College Players, USFtv and the Foghorn) and many offices in the UC (such as Student Leadership and Engagement and more club offices) will move to other floors.

The Foghorn staff appreciates that the USF administration values the student experience, and devotes funds to improving our buildings to make them not only more useful but also more aesthetically pleasing. However, we have concerns about how the space will be allotted, and, selfishly, are worried about the office space that will be given to us and fellow funded accounts.

One concern in particular is that we would no longer have our own offices. We cannot speak for everyone, but in our office we conduct meetings, hold interviews for stories, write articles, work with writers, edit stories, and lay out the paper for each coming week. We work late hours and use our space all the time.

The suggestion to share offices with other clubs is not workable. If we had to ask permission to use the office for a meeting, to reserve a computer at a certain time, or had to close the office at a certain time, the paper would suffer.

The Foghorn is not the only group affected by this move. It would not be fair to other organizations that have also been accustomed to their own office space to share with another organization. Just as the Foghorn would suffer so would the other organizations’ work.

Chris Begley, the Executive Producer of USFtv, said that the move for USFtv “would be ridiculous.” Begley stated, “Our office would have to be moved in the summer. And who would move it? It would probably have to be Alex [Platt, a fellow USFtv producer] and I. I would have to be forced to stay here during the summer to handle the situation.”

Another one of Begley’s main concerns is security. Begley said administrators have proposed lockers for the group’s expensive equipment, including thousands of dollars worth of cameras and editing equipment. Begley is worried about the equipment being stolen or damaged without having the group’s office to store it in.

Having new and improved facilities for student groups would be a positive change, if implemented properly.

We at the Foghorn try to represent the students of USF, and have brainstormed how we would blueprint the UC. The UC is a space that is supposed to serve students, so who better than students to determine how it should be used? Our floor by floor plan is as follows:

The bottom floor of the UC should contain Outtahere, Crossroads, and the bookstore. This is the plan that has been set forth by the architects, and we support it. We believe that having the café and bookstore near each other would improve business and give USF a better area for students to socialize and eat.

On the second floor, we support the architects’ plan to leave it largely unchanged. The cafeteria takes up most of the space, and we appreciate the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Student Resource Center being centrally located.

The third floor is where USFtv, the Foghorn, and other student organizations that need visibility should be moved. Being visible to the student body is imperative for these organizations to have consistent members and recognition. Offices that are currently on the third floor but do not require frequent interaction with students, such as the McCarthy Center and Events Scheduling, could be moved to the fourth or fifth floor. Being in a less central location would not impede those groups from fulfilling their missions.

On the fourth and fifth floors, services for students should be located. International Student and Scholar Services, the Learning and Writing Center, the Language Centers, Health Promotion Services, and other services for students should be on the fourth floor. Organizations like Student Leadership and Engagement, the McCarthy Center, Events Scheduling, and other organizations that offer services to students should be located.

We support renovating Phelan Hall and the University Center, and making our campus a more  beautiful and functional place. However, we ask that the committee listen to and consider our requests.

1 COMMENT

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