Knox College renovates Seymour Union student lounge

From The Register-Mail:
Formerly known as Wallace Lounge, the south side of Seymour Union’s basement was flooded in early 2007.

“Well, it was a big rain,” Knox College President Roger Taylor said Wednesday. “It did quite a bit of damage to that area. … The college at that point did not have flood insurance. Well, why would you have flood insurance in the middle of Galesburg?”

Taylor said that while the lounge was not “very upscale,” it still served as space for student organizations and other groups to meet, and on a campus where places such as that are lacking, Taylor said one less space was too much.

A student committee soon set to work on developing plans with the college’s dean of students, chief financial officer and Director of Facilities Services Scott Moss, but without coverage, the plans were “placed on the back burner.”

“The question of how to pay for it came up, because it’s about a $750,000 ticket, since we decided to do energy efficient windows at the same time,” said Taylor. “But this fall, Dean of Students Debbie Southern and I kind of agitated that we need to get this done.”

Taylor said $250,000 in capital reserves funding had been set aside for the project in FY 2010; another $250,000 came from this year’s capital projects budget, and $90,000 came from the State of Illinois Capital Bill. The Knox Board of Trustees approved the renovation in October and plans were under way shortly after Thanksgiving.

The committee collected surveys in January from students on what they want to see in the new lounge and gaming areas. The results will be one space with pool, foosball, air hockey and pingpong tables; a “lounge-y” space with booths, tables, projection screen, a stage and dance floor; and a “kitchenette” with vending machines. Flat-screen TVs will be placed throughout both large rooms of the lounge.

“The most important thing is it will be a suitable place for students to, as individuals of that age say, hang out,” said Taylor. “The fraternity houses have facilities for parties, but there’s not really another good space where students can just gather. … It’ll be a nice recreation space for students that just doesn’t exist…