Money for Stroh Center should be used for other buildings

Guest Columnist and Guest Columnist

I was disgusted to read in the paper on Wednesday that USG approved the new fee for the Stroh Center; it was also raised from $50 to $60. Let me start by saying I support our athletics. I enjoy a good football or basketball game as much as any spirited Falcon fan and want our athletes to have a sound building to practice and play in. I do not, however, support the idea of building a $36 million arena and forcing students to foot 65 percent of the bill. As a sophomore, I already have almost $16,000 in student loans. I think it is shameful the University expects me to add the cost of a new, non-academic building to my rapidly increasing debt. If the University’s academic buildings needed to be renovated, I would support such a measure. The University’s academic buildings do need to be rebuilt, and I support the measures the University is taking with the construction of the Wolfe Center. I beg the University to take a closer look at Moseley, Hanna, South and University Halls. The Theater Department’s costume shop, which is housed in the basement of Moseley Hall, employs between 5-10 student workers and maintains and stores hundreds of costume pieces, easily worth thousands of dollars. The basement floods almost every time we get a significant amount of rain. As a result, student workers have to spend countless hours re-laundering the costumes, only to have them soaked in groundwater again in a few weeks. Many costumes also get damaged, and the building is prone to mold – within the last few weeks, several gorgeous antique wedding gowns have had to be thrown out. The older buildings on campus also have terrible issues with their heating systems. The majority of buildings on campus are heated by steam. When steam is pouring out of the back of the walkway between Moseley and University Hall, how are the buildings being heated? The answer is: badly. While the basement of Moseley is typically warm, the first three floors are frequently chilly. Earlier this year, signs were posted saying the building had lost steam and they were sorry for any inconvenience. When I’m paying thousands of dollars to attend school here, heat is a necessity not a convenience. Perhaps I should walk next door to University Hall where the temperature is often far above average comfort level. In fact, the exposed radiators often get so hot they can cause burns. I hardly need to mention the fact that Moseley and Hanna Halls have no elevator. Entire classes have had to be relocated because wheelchair-bound students couldn’t get to class on the upper floors of Moseley and Hanna. Production managers and theater technicians alike are worried about the day when the Eva Marie Saint Theater goes dark. The electrical grids controlling the theater are rapidly deteriorating, and some department personnel are unsure how many more productions it will support. The one ray of hope the performing arts departments have is the soon-to-be Wolfe Center for the Performing Arts. Construction of the Wolfe Center was supposed to begin right after Saddlemire was demolished in fall 2007. The groundbreaking is scheduled to occur in April. I am shocked the University would consider building an extravagant athletic building when we already have a much-needed academic building which has been in the works for quite some time but can not even seem to get started. Undeniably, the Stroh family was very generous in their donation. I merely think the plans for the center could be scaled back or perhaps given a lesser priority. The ‘athletics versus academics’ debate occurring lately is a hard one to understand for most students. I am at school to learn, so I put my priority on academics. Some students come to use college as a springboard into professional athletics. Yesterday, a guest columnist said ‘let’s not kid ourselves – BGSU is no Harvard or Yale.’ She’s right – we are not a school known solely for our academics, but we are also definitely not a member of the Big 10. As an academic building, the Wolfe Center needs to take first priority – I think we’ll all be fine waiting just a little longer for the world’s largest falcon statue. —Melissa Penkava