Since the College made its Master Building Plan available in a presentation on Wednesday, March 28, students and faculty have criticized the plan. Some students, specifically those involved in club and intramural sports, have even started a petition disagreeing with the plan.
According to Debbie Simpson, intramurals coordinator, students in club and intramural sports disagree with the plan because it does not include athletic facilities or renovations, renovations to the student center, open space or dining facilities in the new residence halls.
Simpson said she believes the petition is intended to eventually reach the president of the Student Government Association (SGA).
Lynda Rothermel, campus architect, said she is aware of students’ criticism and plans to begin working on incorporating student life into the plan.
“The concerns and disappointments expressed about the lack of athletic, recreation and student activity spaces were heard loud and clear,” Rothermel said. “Programming for these spaces will be underway shortly, with the guidance of Jim Norfleet, vice president of Student Life.”
Students, however, are not the only ones unhappy with the plan. Dan Crofts, professor of history and former chair of the Faculty Senate, disagrees with the part of the plan that will demolish the lecture halls in Forcina Hall in 2008.
“I was surprised to learn that this plan called for destruction of the Forcina wing . three years before any additional lecture halls would be built,” Crofts said. “Thus, there would be a three-year interval with only half the lecture halls currently available on campus. From what I hear, the three lecture halls in Forcina are still frequently used, even though they are not well-designed or maintained,” Crofts said. “This suggests to me that they are needed.”
Crofts suggested that a lecture hall be built in the new art building, which would benefit art history classes as well as the wider campus community.
“The purpose of an open forum is to allow all campus constituents an opportunity to express their opinions,” she said. “The comments received have been compiled and are under review by the Steering Committee.”
Michael Robertson, professor of English and president of the Faculty Senate, is encouraged by the amount of feedback the College is receiving.
“The Faculty Senate, along with the staff senate and SGA, sponsored these forums on the master plan for the purpose of getting feedback from faculty, staff and students,” he said.
Robertson said the Faculty Senate will be devoting time at its next meeting to discuss the plan with the intent of giving feedback to Curt Heuring, vice president of Facilities Management, Construction and Safety.
“These are positive signs that people are engaged,” he said. “The Master Building Plan is a work in progress.”