SG discusses upcoming renovations to student center

By Alyssa Sanford
Web Editor

Brower Student Center Manager Seth Zolin and Assistant Campus Architect Mark Kirchner visited Student Government’s (SG) Wednesday, March 30, general body meeting to brief members on the student center’s renovation process.

According to Zolin, the project is currently in Phase One, which included the recent installation and opening of the Traditions restaurant, as well as ongoing renovations to the north face of the building.

Phase Two will include renovations to the south face of the building, and Phase Three, set to take place in 2017, will include the installation of the new north entrance to the building and an atrium that will allow more natural light into the building, Zolin said.

“The goal was to stop the ‘bunker’ feel to the student center,” Zolin said.

Both Zolin and Kirchner, who managed the design aspect of the project, said that the process is “quite complicated,” given that each phase of the project contains multiple phases.

“It’s actually like six phases,” Kirchner said.

On Friday, April 15, the Lions Den will close to accommodate for the construction of four new grab-and-go food stations that will include pasta and salad stations, a grill area and a sub sandwich station, Zolin said.

Zolin also announced that given the fact that the Lions Den will be closed for construction until the beginning of the Fall 2016 semester, T-Dubs will be available for meal equivalency during the week.

Due to the heavy amount of construction taking place both inside and outside of the student center, Zolin announced that no further student events will be held in the atrium for the rest of the semester, adding that it was a decision based on the unpredictable nature of the construction environment.

“We’re excited,” Zolin said. “The project is coming along… By the time you guys come back (in the fall, the Lions Den) should be open.”

Kirchner spoke about the changes to the student center’s exterior. In the fall, the patio next to Traditions is scheduled for completion, which will add about 80 seats to the restaurant’s capacity, Kirchner said.

The original structure of the student center, which was completed in 1976, had a lot of “weird nooks and crannies,” as Kirchner put it, that will be filled in this summer. For instance, the entrance to the student center closest to Lot 5 will be moved closer to the sidewalk, and should be completed by the end of the summer, Kirchner said.

Other changes to the building’s exterior include the future installation of the “art wall” that currently sits outside the student center, and an outside plaza, Kirchner said.

As for office space on the building’s second floor, which will become available by late May or early June, Zolin said that “the College made conscientious decisions” about assigning spaces to organizations on campus.

“I think you guys have all heard about the (College’s) commitment to diversity and supporting different populations on campus,” Zolin said, before announcing that the cultural organizations on campus — PRISM, Union Latina, Women’s Center, Black Student Union and Asian American Association — and the governance organizations —  Inter Greek Council, College Union Board, Student Finance Board and Student Government  — have all been allotted office space in the student center.

Zolin also spoke about the future installation of three lounges, two of which “will have distinct focuses,” as one is called the Global Corner and another is referred to as the Media Corner.

The Global Corner, which will be in the building’s northeast corner, will feature “mounted displays” and TVs that show global news, Zolin said.

“They are to encourage global communication and talking about what’s going on in the world,” Zolin explained.

The Media Corner, located near the current first floor bathrooms, will feature “booth-type seating that curls around” with tables that allow students to plug in their laptops and project their screens onto a larger screen at the table, which will be useful for group project meetings, Zolin said.

Finally, there will be couches set up facing the Art and Interactive Multimedia Building for “soft seating,” Zolin said.

Zolin is the primary contact for questions about the renovation, as President Casey Dowling reminded the general body.

After the presentation, Dowling asked for feedback on the Enterprise car share service at Campus Town, per the request of Vice President of Student Affairs Amy Hecht.

“What she’s been hearing from Enterprise is that a lot of students aren’t using it,” said Dowling, who then asked the general body to submit recommendations for either keeping or eliminating the service on campus.

“Our word isn’t the end word,” Dowling said, but mentioned that the feedback was important, regardless.

General body members cited problems with Enterprise’s advertising, saying that it might be useful to market the service directly to freshmen during Welcome Week, since their target demographic is students without access to a car on campus.

Other general body members mentioned that with TCNJ Rideshare and Strivr, both free services that students can access through an app and request rides or coffee delivery, there doesn’t seem to be much of a need for a car share service.

However, when Executive Vice President Javier Nicasio clarified that the service costs $1 to sign up and $5 per hour of use, plus a $5 tax, general body members expressed interest in keeping the cost-effective service on campus, albeit with more efficient marketing strategies in place.

Sophomore class President Kelsey Capestro reminded general body members of the upcoming Spring Back event that will be held on the T/W lawn on Saturday, April 16.

Freshman class President Carly Mauro spoke about the class’s New York City bus trip, which is still scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 9.

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