Courtesy of Roshal Patel

At the Students’ Association Senate meeting on Jan. 28, the Senate endorsed a construction proposal for the paved area between Meliora Hall and Rush Rhees Library. The proposal is the result of collaboration between a Senate committee and Design and Construction Management on campus, but has not yet been approved or funded.

The proposal mainly involves the construction of green space,  including several trees and a sitting wall. According to Executive Director of Campus Planning, Design and Construction Management Jose Fernandez, the proposal will be submitted as a capital budget request within the next few days. This will determine whether the project will receive funding. The anticipated cost of the project is $64,000, but the budget request is $86,000 to allow for any unanticipated costs.

SA’s endorsement of the proposal comes after discussions of ways in which dead space on campus can be better used. According to SA Senator and freshman David Stark, Meliora Plaza was one of the areas most frequently mentioned by his student constituents and fellow senators.

“I’ve always thought that was a really lackluster part of campus,” Stark said.

The Senate’s endorsement of the project, however, does not change the course of the project: Regardless of the Senate’s endorsement, a capital budget request for the project would have been submitted anyway.

For the Senate, therefore, the focus of their endorsement was not strictly approval of the proposal.

“We wanted to focus our discussion on whether or not it would be beneficial to students rather than an expense since they were going to move forward regardless,” SA Speaker of the Senate and junior Shilpa Topudurti said. “If [we] were to have the [money] to spend as we wanted, I don’t know if all the senators would see this project as worth that expense, but that’s not the position we’re in.”

Although the Senate did not have a large voice in the submission of the proposal, they were happy to engage and collaborate in a disscussion of the proposal with campus Design and Construction workers.

“This was one of the most feasible things for us to do,” Topudurti said. “It helps us build a relationship with [Design and Construction] on campus. In the future, if there’s something students want to see [on campus], we have the relationship in place to help make that happen.”

Fernandez is also excited about the new relationship.

“It was really great to have that communication and collaboration,” he said.

“I want students to know that there’s this dialogue going on,” Stark said. “I think [students] feel inspired when they know people are pushing for something on their behalf.”

Remus is a member of the class of 2016.

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