This year’s Student Government Association (SGA) decided that the living room space in the basement of Sacred Heart was overdue for a makeover.
“It’s become an annual thing that SGA does some sort of campus improvement project,” Dean of Students Levi Esses said.
Previous SGA projects include the installation of a sidewalk that cuts through the grass to the Dugan Center, adding paint designs and photographs to the Student Life Center and more.
“[SGA] thought the living room and the study area could use a facelift, so they passed a legislative bill toward the end of the spring semester to organize it,” Esses said. “The initial proposal was to do carpet, painting and new furniture, but we found out that was going to be an expensive project to take on.” Planners were able to find some cost-effective ways to do the makeover, instead.
Director of Facilities Bruce Sanderson met with 2016-2017 SGA President Hibah Ullah during the spring semester to discuss financial bids for the project from three different companies. The final bid was awarded to Bell Flooring, and on July 5 a construction team replaced the 15-year-old carpet in the living room area.
As manager of the project, Sanderson schedules the job, meets with the contractor and ensures that the project is financed and paid for correctly by meeting with Vice President for Finance and Administration Jennifer Gantz. The estimated cost for updating the area is $6,000.
In an effort to keep costs down, SGA purchased some used furniture from the second-floor student lounge of Heimerman before its demolition. “There are a bunch of pieces there,” Esses said. “We carried it down to the basement of Sacred Heart and we’ll be able to use that furniture for the living room. We can put some chairs around there and in the pillar area, my thought is to have tables so that people can study because there is always that need for study space."
Residence Life is donating a flat-screen TV they no longer use that will hopefully be mounted to the wall, Esses said.
Facilities is also looking into lighting and adding sliding glass doors to seal off the areas in order to make them quieter for studying purposes, Sanderson said.
“However, that is on hold right now,” he said. “Our staff has been limited in how we can help some of the other areas of the university due to the Bishop Gerber Science Center. We’re fairly busy with moving, and it takes priority since we need to have it ready when students return. But hopefully the new SGA will be able to make some decisions come September to continue with [these] pieces of the project. And maybe these additions will be made throughout the next school year as funds are available.”
Director of Student Activities Lauren Fontarum and Graduate Assistant of Diversity Devin Smith spoke with Esses about doing organization photos or student club photos of their members to add to the space as well. “We definitely want to make that area a little bit warmer and Jet-friendly, so we may end up spicing it up with photos like we did in the Student Life Center.”
"We’re trying to find more space for our students, whether it’s study space, social space, or meeting space,” Esses said. “We’re trying to create more opportunities for students to stay on campus in between class or after class, rather than just have them go home. Sacred Heart basement is a nice place to provide that opportunity because it’s quieter, there is not as much traffic and it’s a good space that you can go to and take some quiet moments for yourself if you want to. A big thank you goes out to SGA for funding it.”
Ullah, the 2016-2017 SGA president, said, “I am extremely excited to see the project coming to a close with such an amazing result from the renovations. A lot of time, research and energy went into the project, and I am proud to have been a part of it. I am hopeful that Newman students will find it a beneficial addition to the campus, in terms of new places to study and socialize.”