UVSS open house solicits input on SUB renovations

On Nov. 22, the UVSS hosted an open house to give students the chance to voice their opinions on the SUB renovations. The event took place in the SUB Upper Lounge where students were able to take a look at proposed ideas for renovations of the Upper Lounge itself. Ideas ranged from what the lighting would be like to floor layout and wall décor.

Director of Finance for the UVSS Matt Hammer stood in the entrance of the Upper Lounge, inviting students to step inside and express their opinions on the renovation ideas. Students were encouraged to write their opinions on post-it notes (located on a table at the entrance) and place them next to pictures of the designs.

“The way these things always work is you get the most people by just dragging people in at the door,” said Hammer, and he added, “I’m really excited about the ways that we’ve been able to reach out and try and get more student feedback and involvement in the renovation process.”

Also in attendance was the UVic Urban Development Club. They provided their own project for the open house. They brought in a board and stack of blank cards. The purpose was to have students write general suggestions on these cards and post them on the board.

“We thought, in one of our little think tanks, that there’s a segment of the population at UVic that either doesn’t fill out the online surveys (about renovation ideas) or doesn’t really deal with the leaflets that are handed out. So we kind of wanted to attract them and get their input in a creative and artistic way,” said Oliver Tennant, president of the Urban Development Club. “Although, we can get some kind of quantitative analysis from this. We’ve got a hundred little cards up here, and about 22 of them, for instance, say ‘comfy chairs.’ It’s also kind of a bottom-up, fun, artistic way to get a conversation started with people. Instead of a ‘hey, what do you think of this,’ it’s more of a ‘what do you want it to be.’”

According to Hammer, renovations on the SUB are going smoothly. He is happy with the way renovations went at Felicita’s and is excited about the upcoming changes in other areas of the SUB.

“The fee is going to be collected over five years, so the referendum question went with a schedule of five years for the whole renovation process and we’re definitely ahead of that schedule,” said Hammer. He mentioned that changes to the SUB will take longer than his term as director of finance. “The design of the upper lounge is going to take us until the end of January or mid-February, and there’s going to be pieces to wrap up in terms of construction for Vertigo and the Upper Lounge, which is probably going to take up most of my term.”

Some students did have opinions on the proposed renovations intended for the Upper Lounge. Multiple post-its voted against the suggested foosball table, stating it would make more sense in Vertigo than in the Upper Lounge. Other post-its complimented the natural feel of the designs.

“I like some of the concepts. I like the sustainable aspect,” said JJ White, UVic student and member of the Urban Development club. “My only negative feedback would be that I feel like with the ceiling you could make it more into an atrium and use natural lighting more efficiently than actually blocking it up and putting fake lighting in.”

Hammer stated that the UVSS wants to continue to include students in the decision process for the SUB renovations. “It’s all about having more, different ways,” he said. “We did a survey and got over 200 responses on the survey, which is great. We’re doing the open house now. The Urban Development club is doing their project, which is awesome to have students come forward and lead that.”

Plans for the SUB renovations began in May of 2012, and Felicita’s has already received its new look. Next up is Vertigo, followed by the Upper Lounge. For more information on SUB renovations, go to uvss.ca/renovation.

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