Sep 242003
 
Authors: Carmen Filosa

The Lory Student Center is in the process of finding out what changes will be made in the next 20 years.

“We’re embarking on this process that will affect the students 20 years from now,” said Michael Ellis, executive director of the student center.

Now that the student center is completing many of its current projects, including renovations to the food court, Ellis said it is time to start planning for up to 20 years in the future so that the goals can be obtained.

“It’s interesting to look back at the student center 20 years ago,” said Kris Folsom, coordinator for the student center.

Folsom said many of the current projects and renovations are the result of planning that was done in the past.

Careful planning and looking at what students’ needs will be in the future is what Folsom said is the key to creating a system that will accommodate everybody.

“We don’t want to do things that will lock us in to a system,” she said.

A six-month process that involves seven focus groups will determine what needs to be done in the future, Ellis said.

A 12-person core team, which includes faculty, staff, students and alumni will identify the needs of the student center in the future.

Though the core team will be essential to the process, Ellis said everybody’s help is needed and encouraged other students to express their views on the student center Web site.

“It’s critical for people to participate and for us to understand our needs and where we are going,” Ellis said.

Ellis said the student center has already hired MHTN Architects to help with the planning process.

Ellis said MHTN has already successfully designed 80 other student unions and is one of the nation’s top designers.

“We need a facility that is flexible and that can accommodate new changes,” said Ellis.

Ellis said he thinks the focus groups will help determine what changes need to be made while considering function and space.

“(Changes) need to be done with an understanding of the future,” Ellis said.

Breanna Gallagher, a junior history education major, said the student center has many resources including advocacy offices, which help bring the student body together, and constant planning to make the student center better is essential to continue providing services for students.

“It’s good to have the (Student Center) up-to-date,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher said she comes to the student center often between classes and eats meals there.

“It’s the best food on campus,” Gallagher said.

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