By Samantha Smith
In the December board of trustees meeting, the path was cleared and the resolution to approve renovations at Kilcawley Center was passed.
Joy Polkabla Byers, associate vice president of Student Experience, explained what this means and what’s next in the process of renovating the building.
“We are in the phase of assessing the capability to raise the funds needed for a new student center. We’re committed to making sure that the university, community and to our students [that] the board of trustees [are doing] this with as much private funds as possible,” Byers said.
Byers explained how long the renovation process will take and how long the center will be closed once renovations start.
“A timeframe would be about a year and a half, in order to gather the information to go out, to find the architects, to start the project and then … whenever we’re officially done with the drawing stage and we’re ready to move forward and start the demolition,” Byers said. “We’re roughly [estimating to be] about two and a half years that the student center will be down.”
The layout of the building will be looked over until finances are allocated. Byers said the Student Union has taken inspiration from other universities and different areas of campus that could also be improved.
“We’re still trying to determine exactly what [future renovations] could look like. I know we have looked at some other universities to look at some of the academic services and where they could be located to meet the needs of students as well,” Byers said. “We’ve explored looking at the [William F. Maag Jr. Library] and seeing what that space could provide and almost having an option of different places for students if it’s academic purpose versus a more social and engaged purpose for campus.”
When the center is closed, Byers said the university will make accommodations for students, such as providing alternative plans for events usually hosted in Kilcawley and areas for students to continue working while the center is under construction.
A website for students to give feedback and recommendations about Kilcawley is delayed. Byers said once some of the renovation’s campaign is completed, the website will be launched.
Byers also said she is excited for the future of Kilcawley and students should be as well.
“[The renovation is] something to be really excited about and I know it’s something — a long time — we’ve been waiting on. There’s a need for campus to making sure that, if that’s our heart of campus is what we call our student center, then we need to make sure that we have it be what students want it to be,” Byers said.
If students have any feedback or questions about Kilcawley, they can email Byers at [email protected] or call at (330) 941-2242.