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First Floor Student Center Renovations Ongoing

By Eun J. Lee

FEATURES EDITOR

The first floor of the Student Center will be getting a facelift in the coming weeks.

Notable changes are already apparent in the newly-painted color scheme, but more drastic changes are on the way.

A new lounge will be located in the current lobby, complete with furniture, carpeting, and new lighting. Plans are being made to move the game room from its home in the basement to the Transitions lounge, refurbished with new games like pool and table tennis.

“We’re hoping that the changes will strengthen the social interactions that take place on this floor,” said Phillip J. Walsh, director of the Campus Activities Complex. “This will become a location where people can come and just hang out.”

Other changes include a new Latino cultural center that will move in to the basement space where the game room currently resides.

Walsh said that The Source, an information and ticket sales booth for the MIT community, will be taken out of the Student Center because it is seldomly used.

The CAC Advisory Board decided upon the changes after a Strategic Review and Physical Space Assessment, released last January, reported the unwelcoming entrance and lack of sufficient lounge space in the Student Center as a critical issue facing the MIT community.

“This was our attempt to follow the suggestions of the study,” Walsh said. “It really will help to rejuvenate this area.”

Game room gets license hearing

MIT is currently applying for a Cambridge license to move the game room into Transitions Lounge.

The hearing for the request will take place on Sept. 3 before the Cambridge License Commission, and no changes to Transitions can be made to the room before this time. Painting of the first floor, however, is almost completed.

“Before deciding on the new color scheme, we consulted thirty to forty people in the Student Center and asked what they thought of it,” Walsh said. “The whole reason we’re making these changes is so people will use the first floor. We don’t want to shut them out or have them not like it.”

Students who use the Student Center on a regular basis have mixed feelings about the new changes.

“I think that a new lounge on the first floor will be nice because people will be more likely to stop there than they used to,” said Andrea Noronha ’03.

“I don’t really see the need for the first floor lounge. I like the amorphous structure of the way the first floor is now,” said Tatin Misra G.

New Latino lounge first of its kind

The new Latino cultural center will be the first of its kind on campus. Suggested plans for the new facility include office and meeting space for student groups, an Athena cluster, a media library, and lounge space.

“The need for a gathering place for Latino students has been present for a good while.” said Kateri A. Garcia ’03. “A lot of hard work and research [from former and current students] has been done to get this far.”

The new office will have a part-time adviser for Latino students. Students from the Office of Minority Education will also work to maintain the community atmosphere.

All Latino student groups will have access to the facilities.

“I think a central place for Latino groups will be really helpful in bringing the community together,” said ClubMex President Raymundo Arroyave G. “In the past years we’ve been trying to get MIT aware of the relatively important Latino community on campus.”

Although the organizations La Union Chicana por Aztlan and the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers both currently have office space inside Walker Memorial, they are looking to relocate to the new cultural center.

“We’re doing a lot of fundraising now and trying to reach out to past alumni,” Garcia said. “We’re hoping to have the cultural center completed by the end of this semester.”