University Architect Bob Keller unveiled revamped plans for a Bicentennial Student Center (BSC) at the Associated Student Government (ASG) student senate meeting Oct. 27.
Bob Keller explained the original plan to tear down Gaskill, Culler and Rowan halls to build the BSC would have cost $120.4 million. He said the new plan is to incorporate the three existing buildings into the new center. This plan would cost $77.7 million.
Keller said the three existing halls would be renovated both inside and out and then connected by new facilities.
“I know that Gaskill is not the most attractive building in the world,” Keller said. “There will be some changes.”
Keller said the change in plans would result in a building of almost the exact same square footage as the original design, approximately 205,000 square feet.
“We will still be creating the same kinds of spaces,” Keller said.
Those spaces, he said, will include study and group project space, meeting and office space for student organizations, food service space, recreational space and a theater.
No provision for parking is made in the BSC plans. Keller mentioned the parking at Shriver Center as an option; however, parking there is limited. He also said the plan would eliminate the parking lot currently at Gaskill Hall. Keller said the university wants to encourage walking as opposed to driving on campus.
Keller said recycling the old buildings will not only cut demolition and building costs, but also help the building achieve a better Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Keller said the university’s goal is to achieve a silver certification for the BSC.
“The team we have assembled is very much into green design and sustainable design,” Keller said, when asked how much of a priority environmental concerns will be for the project.
Keller said the new plan also allows for the project to be done in two phases.
David Creamer, vice president of finance and business services, said, “Even if everything proceeds on schedule, we are three and a half years from the opening of Phase I.”
Creamer said Phase I would cost approximately $50 million to construct and $1.5 million to operate annually. Phase II would cost $12 million to construct and $270,000 annually to operate.
Creamer said the general fees for students will be raised anywhere from $41 to $163 per semester, depending on the dollar amount of donations received for the project, to pay for the BSC services. The current general fees are around $861 per semester.
The university hopes to raise up to $57 million in gifts to fund the project. When asked how the building project might affect student scholarships, Creamer said donations for building projects are often extra and do not usually detract from scholarships.
“What happens especially with major gifts is it often goes to buildings, and this is at the preference of the donor,” Creamer said.
Creamer said donors like to see tangible effects of their gift.
“The hope would be that a donor would be interested enough to make a gift substantial enough for their name to (appear) on the building,” Creamer said.
Creamer said part of the cost of the project is the renovation of Kreger Hall to accommodate the physics department, now housed in Culler. He said the physics renovation should be a state-funded project that will likely happen in the next five years regardless of the BSC.
Creamer said the art facilities now in Rowan will be moved into the south end of Phillips Hall and the IT and print center services currently in Gaskill would be relocated as well.
The University Bookstore would likely expand and remain in the Shriver Center.