Plans for Student Services Still on Track
Following the announcement last semester that plans to construct a free-standing student service building had been scrapped, administrators say an alternative plan to cluster the services on the bottom floor of the Undergraduate Library is on schedule. Construction is expected to be complete by next fall.
According to Dennis Black, vice president for Student Affairs, a free-standing student services building would have cost the university upwards of $12 to $15 million while an internal project will only cost about $500,000.
"Obviously, the internal plan would provide less than what was planned for the full building, but it should still be a great step forward for student services," said Black. "Many of the services planned for the full building are already in Capen, so they will link with the new service center."
The plan calls for centralizing student services in one easily accessible location, as opposed to leaving services spread throughout different sites across campus.
The area will serve as a "one-stop shop" for student needs including ID cards, fee waivers, meal plans, room and apartment information, health insurance waivers, orientation registration, parking hang tags and violation appeals, veterans affairs transactions and commencement registration.
In addition, the site will offer computer workstations for online transactions and online information access. Informational material displays, a counter area for transactions and services, and office space for individualized services would be included, along with a furnished gathering area, campus phones for student use and bulletin boards.
"I think it's a good idea," said freshman Rebecca Sewastynowicz. "A central location would ease organization, and students would not have to visit multiple offices around campus to get everything they need taken care of."
Although the current plan calls for remodeling the ground or first floors of Capen Hall, which houses the UGL, Black said there has been no final decision regarding where the student services will be concentrated.
"[The renovation] will not necessarily impact on UGL," he said. "The five-year capital plan for UB was not able to meet all campus needs, so we looked for an alternative way to meet the need for a central place for most student service transactions and information."
Current student service sites will remain operational until construction is completed, and Black does not expect the renovations to interfere with the functioning of the UGL.
According to Director of Libraries Judith Adams Volpe, the plan will not have a great effect on the current UGL layout because the books located on the bottom floor are being relocated to Lockwood Library and the Science and Engineering Library, and all other library services will remain intact.
"We actually see the use of the ground floor of the Undergraduate Library for student services to be a good thing for the university because it will bring a lot of the services together in one place and we think the merger of those services with the continuing services of the library will be good for the students and good for the library also," said Volpe.
"Since the book collection is not used very much anymore we think the space would be well used for student services," she added.