The Board of Trustees has approved a proposal — pushed in large part by Student Affairs and the Student Government Association — to renovate Auburn's Student Activities Center.
The plan, proposed by Associate Vice President for Facilities Dan King, will modify and renovate the existing building to create a facility with a more accommodating, mid-sized event space equipped for hosting events too big for the Student Center and too small for the Auburn Arena or Beard-Eaves Collesium.
The project will create a flexible event space managed by Student Affairs, King said.
"We have a lot of student events that are having to go off campus and then they have to pay for transportation," said Bobby Woodard, vice president for Student Affairs. "This gives us a way to go on campus that is a relatively cheap price overall and gives us an opportunity to increase our student events and the space for student events."
In addition to the event space, the renovations will include new athletic flooring in 19,600 square feet of the south portion of the building to be used by the provost's office for physical education and kinesiology courses as well as the women's volleyball team that uses the center as a practice facility.
Specifically, the estimated $7 million project aims to create a 1,200-seat multipurpose event space that includes an expanded stage, new lighting, theater equipment, better acoustics and event furniture.
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The renovations will include an expansion of restroom facilities to meet building code requirements and better accommodate for higher-occupancy levels as well as minor enhancements to the exterior of the center.
University general funds will largely fund the project with some financing from Facilities Management Repair and Renovation funds and Student Government Association funds.
The existing Student Activities Center, which was the precursor to Auburn's new Recreation and Wellness Center, was built in 1984 as a facility intended for student recreation and sponsored events. Since the creation of the new Rec Center, the building has transitioned its functions.
Student Affairs has continued to use the space for holding student events, hosting 333 events there during 2017.
"The biggest difference is going to be we are going to heighten the number of events we do on that north side of the court," Woodard said. "We will be able to provide more options for what students and what organizations want to do with that building."
The Student Activites Center renovation project is estimated to begin in August 2018 and finish before students return to school for the 2019-2020 academic year.
"The student experience is created through the countless opportunities of engagement we have here at Auburn," said SGA President Dane Block. "So to continue to grow and expand on these opportunities, we must have the facilities and resources."
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