Gallagher to get Facelift over Summer Vacation
Lower Level Gallagher is changing once again. Next fall, it will have a totally new look. Certain offices will be moved out, while other clubs and student organizations will be invited in. A new game room, study lounges and information desk will be added, as well as much more.
Why the change? you may ask.
Athletics, said Dr. Judy Willard assistant to the president for planning. NU is working to update the Upper Level Gallagher Center to meet NCAA standards. This means renovations for bigger locker rooms and other amenities.
We've been putting that off for years. The board of trustees approved it in October, Willard said.
With the upper level being renovated, ideas were thought up for the lower level as well.
Soon enough, the plan for renovations expanded to the student center. So, how did it all start?
Bill Newton, assistant director of Campus Activities, said, Our graduate assistant Gabe Foe; myself; along with Karin Kosmala, facility designer in the office of planning; (we) took a trip to Rochester and visited four student centers and met with their Campus Activities
professional to get an idea of what works and what doesn't in their student centers. We visited SUNY Brockport, St. John Fisher, University of Rochester, and RIT.
Afterwards, A bunch of kind of key players were brought onto this unofficial committee that was presented the same thing that students were presented, said NUSGA President Christopher Zukas.
The unofficial committee consisted of Executive Vice President and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Bonnie Rose; Willard; newly appointed Vice President for Student Life Dr. Kevin Hearn; Mati Ortiz, director of Campus Activities; Foe; Newton; Kosmala; and Zukas.
Then Willard asked NUSGA what they would like to see.
Commuters were heavily focused. There were two break out sessions
I believe there are a couple other focus groups “ to get opinions from all over campus, Zukas said.
Before the second breakout session, Zukas said Willard, Pulled everyone out of the game room and said ˜come to this meeting,' this is going to directly impact you guys.'
NU junior Krystyna Adam said, I like how they're asking us how we want things to be
During the second breakout session, Willard began by telling the audience of roughly 10 students what the renovation plans were thus far.
The second half of the session was open for students to make comments and requests relating to the renovations.
The first question was, Are any of the food choices looking to be changed.
Willard said the renovations are not pertaining to any of eating facilities and that nothing on that end was changing.
One student suggested booths for studying. Adam said, We like being able to have study space. Another student said they didn't like the highchairs for eating because they thought they were uncomfortable.
Everyone wanted bathrooms on the lower level.
Some other requests were a bigger stage and another TV.
Willard said offices of records, financial aid, and student accounts will most likely move out of Gallagher and become one department in attempt to make a one-stop spot for students.
Students responded well to this idea at the session. Their drawn out Yes! responses made that clear.
It is exciting to hear that they will be moving to a location that students will be able to go to one place and take care of all three of these needs in one, said Newton. Many other schools have a similar concept and it works well.
Another big change consists of all student organizations and clubs being housed in one area.
I think it's great because right now student organizations, student clubs, not everyone has a home. ¦ I think it will truly kind of bring all the organizations together, and all the clubs to work together in that same space, Zukas said.
There are plans for one large, common meeting area and smaller rooms for clubs and organizations to keep their equipment and have some privacy.
I think that's huge, because right now we have the study lunge, which is taken up a lot of times by administration, Zukas said.
Currently, the study lounge is reserved for numerous meetings seven days a week so to have meeting space dedicated to student clubs is wonderful, Newton said.
Despite the excitement, Zukas still had some concerns.
I think there are some hurdles that we have to get over. I mean, obviously, you're shoving 50, 60 organizations in one office. That's going to be interesting how the dynamics work, he said.
Now for the game and multi-purpose room. The plan is to change Under the Taps and open up the game room.
The Taps has been renovated before and it has been completely changed, so that history factor is kind of nullified almost, Zukas said. People say there is a lot of history, which there absolutely is. It was under Taps Gallagher, it was his place, and it's already been
dramatically changed from what it was initially.
The goal is to keep that “ just to make it new and combine it with that game room so it can be kind of an all encompassing space.
Freshman Eric Smith, while referring to the plan, said, The game room looks a lot bigger. It looks like there's more space just to relax.
Right now, as you're walking in, this truly looks like the back of the building. It's not open, Zukas said.
NU freshman James Edwards said, It's so out of date back here; it's depressing. No one knows about it; nobody's back here.
They're going to rely heavily on glass walls, Zukas said. They want to naturally draw people; that's what they all keep saying to me at least.
The last major change is the potential addition of an information desk. This would be an area that you could go to reserve meeting space in the Gallagher Center, specifically, and it would act as a general information clearing house for NU as it will be great for visitors of the
university to go to for direction, Newton said.
Campus Activities will remain in Gallagher, but may have renovations.
Our physical space will be increased slightly, allowing for a small meeting area that our professional and student staff will be able to use, as well as creating a more welcoming and inviting environment for students to enter our office “ compared to our current narrow hallway
students have to come down to enter our office, Newton said.
Willard explained that architects will be hired and they will work from February to May 2011 on mapping out the plans. But, by the end of January they will have some things they like and dislike.