Vicki McNeil, vice president for student engagement, addresses student concerns about the Setzer Student Center renovation in Landes Auditorium, Tuesday, during an SGA session.

Vicki McNeil, vice president for student engagement, addresses student concerns about the Setzer Student Center renovation in Landes Auditorium, Tuesday, during an SGA session.

After a period of uncertainty concerning the date of the Setzer Student Center’s closure, as well as other questions, students listened intently Tuesday in the Landes Auditorium to an address made by Vicki McNeil, vice president for student engagement, during the Student Government Association’s first open joint session for the semester.

“We talked about renovating Setzer long before I came to Lamar,” McNeil said. “What’s exciting about it is that we will start that renovation this semester.”

McNeil said not everyone will be able to see these changes.

“What I can say about this is, some of you will not get to use it because you’re students now,” she said. “Our anticipated opening of this facility will be January of 2018. We are looking to really shut down Setzer and begin this renovation project in late-October.”

The SSC will remain closed until its completion date and McNeil said there are several new additions that will be included.

“Students have said to us that they’d like more places to meet, so with this new building, we will have 18 different meeting rooms of different sizes that you can hold your meetings and your programs,” she said. “Student Government will have new offices.

“Also, joining the second floor will be a student organization space. We will have several computers up in order to help you do marketing for your programs, for your events.”

McNeil said there will also be a new ballroom.

“We are doing some new construction to the side of Setzer that faces the Quad,” she said. “In that, there’ll be a new — some type of food experience — but it will also be a brand-new ballroom. Where the current ballroom is will be the new food court, and in that location, what we’re looking at is offering three different branded concepts.”

McNeil said Lamar is investing in a university-wide signage program, which will start in the SSC.

“We also are going to have some brand-new electronic signage in the building,” she said. “We will still have some bulletin boards, but we’re really trying to get you all to market your programs, your activities electronically.”

Having considered the lack of cover past the outskirts of the Set, McNeil said part of the renovations are also going to affect the Quad.

“They redesigned it so that there’s more seating out there,” she said. “There’s some more open play-space. The oaks are remaining, we’ll still have those trees that provide that nice look about the Quad.”

McNeil said the senior parking lot entrance will be changed.

“There will be a new ceiling or entryway designed and put in place on that side, so it will be a new look on both sides, both the Quad side and the senior parking side,” she said.

McNeil said the Quad will also be closed to accommodate construction.

“We need to do some very desperately needed pipe renovation in the Quad,” she said. “Before we even start any type of new landscaping, because we’re upgrading all the HVAC systems — the electrical, the plumbing in Setzer — and so that has to do with the pipes that are underneath.”

However, McNeil said areas will gradually open up.

“Some point, when we get the Quad done, we’re going to reopen parts of it, so you get to use it — at least walk through it, so that you can get to classes, but initially, the Quad will be kept closed,” she said.

Although McNeil did not provide an exact date for construction to begin, she said it will be near the end of October.

“That’s why you have seen things like sofas and chairs disappear,” she said. “We moved a lot of that furniture over to Cardinal Village, so that students could use that. We’re trying now to move everything else out of the building so that we get the building completely cleaned out in order for the contractor to take over.”

For the time-being, McNeil said, Setzer Student Center staff, SGA, advisement, student engagement and orientation, and Greek life will be relocated to the Wimberly Building.

“So, for a while, it will be a little uncomfortable to be able to have to walk all around the Quad and get to your classes or get to different spaces on campus,” she said. “We are extremely sorry about that, but we don’t know any other way to do that in order to provide the infrastructure necessary for the Setzer Center.”

For more information, call 880-8458.

Trevier Gonzalez

UP Multimedia Editor

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