NEWS-SAC-LP

Students study in the Student Activity Center located on East Campus Mall. The facility, built four years ago, will undergo renovations to improve spaces as well as install a new PA system.[/media-credit]

Four years after the construction of the Student Activity Center, the facility will undergo massive renovations in response to student demands and complaints.

According to Katie Cary, SAC Governing Board chair, the SACGB has a $30,000 budget that will go toward SAC remodeling as well as a $10,000 dollar budget for a PA system projected to increase building security.

The intent of this project is to improve the atmosphere of the SAC, Cary said in an email to The Badger Herald. The current use of the space, which is primarily studying, does not fit the original intent of an activity center for students, she added.

Press Office Director of the Associated Students of Madison David Gardner said he agrees the rebranding effort will provide students with necessary activity space.

“The SAC rebranding project is a result of listening to the feedback of students who use this space every day,” Gardner said. “Students wanted a safer, more collaborative activity space and we will be doing just that.”

This multi-year project will begin by adding a projector and screen that allows student organizations to host film events, show Badger sporting events and other major events to increase overall activity in the SAC. Money allocated to this process will become available July 1, Cary said, so changes will be noticeable early next school year.

In addition, Cary confirmed SACGB seeks to combine small offices in order to form larger workspaces, as a small office is not conducive to many student organizations’ operations. She said by combining these small offices, described as “garage-style” cubbies, student organizations will be able to work without feeling like they are disturbing other students nearby.

“The SACGB is always looking for ways to best serve the student body, and this is one area in which we’ve received considerable input that we can make an improvement,” Cary said. “We have found that the small office spaces are simply not suitable for most organizations.”

According to Gardner, students should also expect to see increased safety measures.

Cary described the current security measures as “not sufficient.”

“The Student Activity Center did not have a sufficient way to clear the building in the case of an emergency,” Cary said. “Because the SAC is often staffed by three students or fewer, clearing the building without a PA system is difficult, and very time-consuming, which is unacceptable in an emergency setting.”

Cary said the SACGB will remedy this problem by installing a PA system on the third floor in the SAC staff office, thereby allowing SAC staff to work with the University of Wisconsin Police Department to set up an effective plan for using this system in the case of an emergency.

Cary described a second security issue has been identified, as the SAC is comprised mainly of glass windows.

“While this is aesthetically very pleasing, it is a security nightmare,” Cary said.

Cary said students would have nowhere to hide in the case of an armed intruder, so to remedy the situation, a small, simple and inexpensive measure of frosting the windows is proposed to take effect.

On a personal note in reflection of the rebranding, Cary claims she is “extremely happy” about these changes and looks forward to future progress.