Wellness, Interfaith no longer in plans

Space for an Alumni & Visitors Center will be included in the expansion of Price Center, while space for an Interfaith Center and a Wellness Center will not, planners announced at a Price Center Building Advisory Committee meeting held on Jan. 9.

The BAC, which consists of one-third faculty and two-thirds students, had previously set Jan. 9 as a deadline to include three new programs to the existing plan. The Alumni & Visitors Center, the Interfaith Center and the Wellness Center were all prospects for inclusion, but would need to be privately funded as they were not part of the original expansion plan passed in the Student Center and Price Center Expansion Referendum of 2003.

BAC co-chair Carmen Vasquez announced that the Alumni & Visitors Center was committed to become part of the expansion plan. Although organizers did not yet have a specified donor, they felt confident that the Alumni & Visitors Center would find funding. In addition, the Office External Relations has agreed to provide guaranteed funding in case of insufficient donations, consequently enabling the program to commit to the Price Center expansion plan.

The Alumni & Visitors Center would be a space for UCSD alumni to return to their alma mater and “”feel at home,”” according to the proposal.

In addition to reaching out to graduated UCSD students, BAC members also expressed hope that the center will improve alumni-student relations.

Organizers of the Interfaith Center and the Wellness Center, however, were not able to commit to their proposals of finding funding. Vasquez announced that because the Interfaith Center could not identify a funding source and the Wellness Center would be financially unfeasible without charging a per-use fee, the two programs would not be included in the expansion plans.

The Interfaith Center would have included the Office of Religious Affairs and provided space for meeting and worship, while the Wellness Center would have provided additional recreation rooms, showers and food vendors.

“”While I understand the expansion people have a timeline, this is an important project for the student body, and we are looking forward to working with the administration and the expansion task force to integrate the eventual Interfaith Center into the center of campus,”” said Travis Silva, a Thurgood Marshall College sophomore who authored a resolution supporting the Interfaith Center.

The BAC also discussed the realignment of Lyman Lane and the allocation of space that would make up the Price Center expansion. BAC member John Turk pointed out the commercial considerations of the plan, including foot and automobile traffic conditions, as well as the accessibility and visibility of shops in order to “”optimize the frequency of visitors.””

A spokesperson from Cannon Design, the architectural firm hired to design Price Center’s expansion, displayed several views in organizing building space, directing foot traffic, and dealing with shuttle and automobile stops and parking. He also presented the possible total square footage of the revamped Price Center, which would shoot from the current area of 170,000 square feet to possibly 360,000 square feet.

Underclassmen can look forward to a Price Center nearly double its current size by fall of 2007, according to the BAC’s current proposals.

The expansion, according to Max Harrington, A.S. representative to the BAC, is a much-needed change to the UCSD campus.

“”The food court bursts at the seams with hungry students every day at lunchtime, and the campus will grow by up to 8,000 students over the next seven years, worsening an already serious problem,”” Harrington said. “”The Price Center expansion will not only help alleviate the problems we have with our current spaces, but it will create space for a whole host of new services that we have never had on campus ‹ such as a bank and a grocery store.””

Harrington also expressed the desire to create a Price Center that not only meets user needs, but achieves a high standard of resource consumption, incorporating standards such as “”a low use of potable water, highly efficient use of electricity, use of recycled building materials and materials that are manufactured from sustainable sources.””

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