The timeless Willard Straight Hall may be on the verge of a facelift.
For the past six months, the Student Assembly and the Dean of Students Office have been debating the reconstruction of the student spaces in Willard Straight Hall, one of the oldest student unions in the country.
Currently, the fifth floor TV lounge is undergoing reconstruction.
“We are creating a ‘student organization complex’ in the space that formerly was the SAFC and SA, along with many of the Dean of Student Office student groups,” said the acting Dean of Students Spring ’01 Kim Yeoh.
The two major rooms in the Straight under consideration for possible reconstruction are the billiards room on the fifth floor and the browsing library on the first floor of the building.
The Game Room, home to the Pool Club, has not yet been affected, but there was consideration last year from the Willard Straight Hall Space Committee to implement changes there as well.
“The Game Room is underutilized and struggling financially; an idea for a ‘student organization resource center’ was proposed for that space. This would be a center that would provide many of the resources (e.g. telephones, computers, printers, fax, copier, etc.) needed to assist student organizations in planning and carrying out their activities,” Yeoh said.
One of the student spaces under question is the browsing library. According to the administration, “the Committee suggested opening up the browsing library and transforming it into a more active social lounge. It would retain its access to newspapers, magazines and e-mail kiosks, but might include such additional features as cafe tables, television, maybe even a pool table,” Yeoh said.
Student Assembly President Uzo Asonye ’02 had a different opinion. He stated that there was talk of “changing the browsing library to a video game room that would be self-sufficient and would not require staff workers constantly on the watch.”
“As far as the [the pool room and browsing library] are concerned, there haven’t been any changes to them. We will probably initiate a discussion with the S.A. in the spring about these spaces and how they are used,” Yeoh said.
Already last semester, the issue came before the S.A. During one meeting, the S.A. disagreed with the Dean of Students Office, and decided to vote against changes to the Straight.
The administration’s official reasons for the reconstruction vary from the financial failure of the student space, to reported complaints of inefficient use of the area.
However, according to Asonye, there is reason to believe that the administration has alternate reasons for the reconstruction of the Straight.
“It’s a student building, but they are treating it like Day Hall, which we took very personally because the Student Assembly felt like the administration