Student panel to advise on University Center projects

    With plans to expand the Price Center and renovate the Student Center in the works, the University Centers and an A.S. Council task force are seeking student input. A series of focus groups will convene this week to elicit students’ desires and needs for the expanded facilities.

    “”The goal is to get a basic sense of how students use the facilities now and what can be improved,”” said University Centers Advisory Board Chair and UCAB representative to the task force James Lynch.

    Each session will be geared toward certain campus groups, ranging from commuters to graduate students to student organizations.

    Consulting firm Brailsford and Dunlavey is being brought in to assist the task force in assessing student opinion on campus and whether a referendum could be supported at UCSD. Opinions gathered during the focus groups taking place this week will play a part in assessing student opinion.

    “”This company is going to tell us whether or not to go for it, they may tell us not to do it,”” said Task Force Chair Mark Stickel.

    If students do not support a referendum for expansion, it is unclear whether the expansion will go ahead.

    “”Either we will have to live with what we have in a growing student population or other units in student affairs would have to suffer to pay for it,”” Lynch said.

    The planned expansion, if enacted, would require student funding because state and tuition dollars will not pay for student facilities such as the Price Center. Student fees, however, will not be used until the expansion is completed.

    “”After last year’s referendum, we found that people didn’t want to pay for something they weren’t going to be able to use,”” Lynch said. “”The earliest a fee would begin would be late 2006. Most people here would never have to pay for it.””

    Although current students would not be paying a new fee, they will be voting on a new fee referendum.

    “”We would need student commitment in order to begin,”” Lynch said.

    The facilities need to be expanded because the current space will be inadequate when the campus population increases in coming years, according to Lynch.

    Current expansion plans have the Price Center growing eastward to the area currently held by the police station. The station would move into a new facility in the Campus Services Complex, which is at the intersection of Gilman Drive and Voigt Drive.

    More commuter lounge space, offices for student organizations and increased dining seating are parts of the plan for the Price Center.

    The Student Center’s renovation plan calls for more seating at the Grove Cafe and improvements to The Stage at Porter’s Pub.

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