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New hang-out for students across the street?

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by Aaron Plasek

SAIC has been contacted by Institutional Project Management, LLC (IPM), and asked if students might be interested in a student center that would be shared by a number of other schools. More than 460 SAIC students participated in an online survey developed by Brailsford & Dunlavey, a facilities planning organization working with IPM, designed to answer this question. The survey also asked students what amenities such a center should have.

The 24-hour “Louis Sullivan Student Union” tentatively proposed by IPM would occupy the underground and ground levels of the Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building located directly across Wabash Avenue from the Sharp building. Designed to serve students from over 21 schools including SAIC, DePaul, Columbia, and Roosevelt, the proposed student union would have many different facilities, including, but not limited to: a bowling alley, a fitness center with jogging track, hot tubs, steam rooms, weights and lockers, an arcade, a cyber café, a clinic with emergency dental and eye care, ambulatory care, and counseling services, a digital immersion theater ( the digital equivalent to an IMAX theater arrangement, the IPC brochure states), a flower shop, salon, sushi bar, sports bar, juice bar, bakery, deli, branch mini bank, copy shop, and music retailer.

Do SAIC students need or want all this? The survey data is still being compiled and analyzed by Brailsford & Dunlavey. Since results of the student online survey remain undetermined, it is not clear what kind of facilities the union will actually have when IPM presents SAIC with a final proposal. It is not even clear if the Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building will be the final location of the student union or if another site will be chosen. No details have been finalized. It is therefore very difficult to guess how much it will cost.

Another question: how might it be paid for? Two options have been suggested: 1) a participating school could pay an up-front cost that would allow all its students to use the union, or 2) each student could pay a fixed fee in addition to their tuition. It is not decided which, if either, of these two options would be used.

SAIC has made no decisions as to whether they wish to participate in the student union project since nothing regarding the union has been finalized. SAIC is currently waiting for IPM and Brailsford & Dunlavey to contact the school with a revised proposal after the survey data has been compiled and an estimate of cost has been made.

May 2005

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