Changes to AMU get the red light

A Marquette Student Government-proposed bill to spend $100,000 from the Reserve Fund on first-floor renovations of the Alumni Memorial Union has been taken off the table because the university withdrew the renovation plan.

"The project is not mature enough for MUSG to invest in," said MUSG President and College of Business Administration senior Dan Calandriello. "We want to be good stewards of the Student Activity Fee, not throwing money at unworthy or unready projects."

Todd Vicker, executive director of the AMU and auxiliary services, and nearly a dozen MUSG senators expressed concerns that the renovation's conceptual drawings did not include enough "hangout" space.

In response to the criticism, the university is looking into creating conceptual drawings for a renovation that will better respond to student needs.

The original proposal drew both positive and negative feedback from students.

Some students like Abe Matthew, MUSG executive vice presidential candidate and a College of Arts & Sciences sophomore, supported the renovation because it would provide "more student organization space and enable us to better address our concerns."

However, others were opposed to the renovation because of the length of time needed to complete the project – a range projected to be between one and five years, according to Calandriello.

As of now there is no timeline as to when the revised plans will be completed. However, at the Feb. 20 Father Wild Forum, Senior Vice President Greg Kliebhan said the project is unlikely to see further action until the renovation of the Varsity Theatre is complete.

In the Feb. 20 forum, Kliebhan said the administration was aware of the need for student organizational space on campus and the university is looking into fixing and providing such space.

"There are no simple answers to the space problems," said Art Scheuber, vice president in the Office of Administration. "If there were, we would have implemented them."

According to Scheuber, the university is still in the "fact finding stage" and has not yet made a formal recommendation for renovation. He said the university is "still trying to get an idea of what the options are."

"It takes a year to build a house, and it takes many years to build a university facility," Calandriello said. "MUSG will continue to address the organizational space needs for all students."

According to Calandriello, the AMU project is "still a good project that will be executed in the future."

"We just hope it will be executed before the Band-Aid-like fixes to the space issues fall off," he said.