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The Carletonian

Sayles-Hill faces modifications in upcoming years

<ng with the upcoming closure of the dining hall contract by spring term, the Sayles Hill space may be facing modifications, according to Fred Rogers, Vice President and Treasurer.

“Preliminary plans have been drawn for renovating the snack bar,” Rogers said. Proposals about these possible renovations have been included in the dining hall contracts. “The two companies [Bon Apppetite and Sodexho] have very different proposals for what could be done with the snack bar,” Rogers said.

According to Rogers, conversations are in the works, which involve Dan Bergeson, Director of Auxilliary Service and Special Projects, Hudlin Wagner, Dean of Students, and “conversation with Sodexho.” Wagner says that she, Rogers, Tim Singer ‘08, Evan Rowe ‘09, and Amanda Hess ‘08 have also met to discuss possible changes.

According to Wagner, these initial conversations led to “a short term goal of increasing amenities, like getting more comfortable furniture and lighting modification on the upper level”.

Rogers says that improvements regarding the snack bar seem to center around its tendency to be congeste. Improvements will also concern the services that the snack bar provides, the products and types of foods it offers, its general size, and the “liveliness of the seating area.

Other potential areas for modification are the upper-level rooms regularly scheduled for classes, which “should probably be more widely available for student groups to use,” Rogers said. “There is a sense that there aren’t enough spaces in the building for organizations,” he continued, referring particularly tp student run organization and clubs.

The new Arts Union will also have some impact on decisions to renovate Sayles. Since many organization which are currently located in Sayles will be moved into the Union (KRLX, for example) more space will be available. Furthermore, the Arts Union will add to the number of classrooms, and Sayles may potentially become a classroom-free space. This has also called into question the placement of other existing services, like the bookstore.

As far as the general student body’s involvement thus far, Rogers says “some students have come to me directly, through my office hours. There have also been discussions it on the campus life committee, and input from CSA.”

On the other hand, Sayles modifications may be considered a back-burner project. In addition to finalizing the dining hall contract and progressing on the Arts Union project, Rogers says that “the single highest priority is to get the residency halls planned and under construction so that we can have it open by the fall of 2009.” At the same time, Rogers “hopes that modification will occur within less than five years…there may even be minor modifications by next year.”

Sayles was last renovated during the 1980s, when it was converted from a gymnasium into the current student union. In the renovations, classrooms were added, the connection to Severence Hall was enlarged, and the pool was filled and converted into the bookstore.

If additional modifications are to be made in the future, funding must be considered. “At the unreasonable level if it were a few hundred thousand dollars for cleaning up the space [extra funding raising may not be necessary]. At the other unreasonable end, if it [required] multimillions of dollars, a new source of financing would be necessary,” Rogers said.

Rogers’ focus is “to make it as student-focused a building as possible”. He draws on other campus’ student unions as role models. Williams College, for instance, has recently rebuilt their student union. Rogers describes it as “a very animated student space.” However, in the Williams case, there was no student union for two years due to construction. Carleton “would try to do construction during the summer so as not to interrupt the school year,” Rogers said.

Wagner sees many possibilities for modifications, like the addition of a coffee house or internet-café space on the upper floor. “My vision is that the student union would be a 24 hour, 7 day a week space that would have aesthetic amenities, a black box performance space, room for student organization and student life, and an Internet coffee house,” Wagner said.

Due to the food contract,the modification of Sayles-Hill may occur in the near future. As Rogers says about the area, “there’s a general sense that it is not as good as it could be and may not serve all the needs of the college, and there is an aspiration to do better”.

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