A measure on the online Spring Election ballot asks for $14 per student per quarter — $3.50 is for return to aid — to transform the third floor of the University Center into a “study loft”.
The new lock-in fee would generate approximately $5 million in revenue to renovate the third floor with added group study rooms, computer workstations and a total of 220 new study spaces for students. This new fee would bring the total UCen lock-in referendum to $55.02, pending reaffirmation of the already existing $41.02 UCen fee also up for vote on the spring ballot.
“Our goal is to have a premiere study space upstairs,” University and Events Center director Alan Kirby said. “Right now there are many unnecessary walls on the [third] floor and virtually all of them can be removed.”
The new lock-in fee would also allow the UCen to stay open until midnight as well as expand the Nicoletti’s menu to offer more late-night fare. Kirby said increased demand for limited study spots prompted the idea to expand. The third floor has not seen a renovation since 1966.
“We decided that there was a lack of study space in the UCen since we have a very high demand, espe- cially during finals week,” Kirby said. “The lobby of the UCen is always packed at any given time.”
If approved, construction on the UCen Loft would begin immediately, to be completed by fall. According to Kirby, this would be a timely addition to campus because Davidson Library will lose 500 to 600 study spaces when it undergoes major construction starting Winter Quarter 2012. A portion of the student lock- in fee revenue would also go toward general costs for operating and maintaining the entire UCen. First-year biopsychology major Brooke Boehmer said she will not vote for the UCen fee.
“I think the money would be better served going towards opening up new classes and sections,” Boehmer said. “There are plenty of study areas around campus even if the library does close for construction.”