Plans for new student center raise costly questions

By Katie Clark
October 6, 2006

The talk around campus is that a new student center is being planned for the near future. This new center will be built where the walkways are between Founder’s Hall and the Widener Center. The estimated cost for this new project is between $22 million to $25 million. There is still no set date on when this construction process will begin.

“The President has indicated, however, that the Campus Center and the Collaboratory (improvements to the Library) are the next two major construction projects,” said Dr.. Christine Lysionek, vice president of student development. Is a new student center necessary and worth the money that Cabrini will be putting out?

There are many different mix feelings around campus about the new project. A new student center sounds neat, sure, but is it needed? Aren’t there more issues around campus that needs more intention than a newer student center? These are the kinds of questions I asked myself and to my fellow classmates.

Cabrini has some great qualities about its campus. However, there are many things that still need to be improved or created. For instance, I know a big issue that a lot of upper classman are talking about is the parking situation. There is not enough parking for everyone in the houses, East and West Residence halls.

“Every night I come back onto campus, and I drive around for at least a half hour looking for parking, hoping a spot will open up and I will not have to walk back from Dixon,” Nicole Pirolli, a sophomore education major, said. There should be alternative parking places besides the dreadful walk from the Dixon Center.

Another issue that concerns some freshmen is the oldest residence halls they are placed into. All the students who once lived or are living in Rooyman’s and Woodcrest can all agree that it wasn’t the best living conditions. I lived in Woodcrest last year and every double room had three freshmen squeezed into it. There is no air conditioning, no decent lounges, and the bathrooms are horrible. Before we spend $25 million on a new student center, we should look at all the issues surrounding our campus life and realize what is more important.

Yes, there are some pros towards the new student center. Of course it will be nice to have somewhere students can just hang out. However, is that what the new student center is going to be like, or is it just going to be another lounge type area with a few couches and televisions?

According to Dr. Lysionek, this center is not going be just another boring lounge. They are planning for it to have lots of different qualities to accommodate both the students and faculty. “I know some schools have pool tables, stores and food in their student centers, if ours is going to be like that, then yes, I am all for it,” Lisa Romano, a sophomore criminology major, said.

Most people are saying this center will be good for the commuters; however, most of my friends who are commuters usually hang out in the library, Founder’s main lounge, or in a friend’s dorm. “I’m a commuter and I usually always find somewhere or something to keep me busy during the day. I don’t think a new student center is worth all that money,” said commuter Sarah Codd.

Most of the people, I have talked with about the new center, were all for it, until I told them how much money Cabrini was planning on spending on it. That is when mostly everyone got turned off by it. I can agree with that, I believe Cabrini needs to spend this money on way more important things around campus than another lounge.

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Katie Clark

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