The outdoor space between Gallahue Hall and the Holcomb Building will be a new study area for students by the beginning of next school year.
Student Government Association approved the project last Wednesday. The executive board has been working on it since last semester.
The new area will have tables with umbrellas and bar-height tables for studying, as well as lounge chairs and couches for recreational use, said Scott Nemeth, vice president of administration. Power outlets and Wi-Fi routers will also be installed to make studying in the area more convenient.
“It’s going to be left behind for students to use for years to come, and I don’t think there’s anything better than that,” Nemeth said.
During coffee chats and surveys, students expressed a desire to be outside more. With the Starbucks patio having a limited amount of space, the board decided on this patio project to add more outdoor soft space, Nemeth said.
The project as a whole will cost $100,000 to complete, said Derek Friederich, SGA vice president of finance.
After looking at what it could get for a variety of different price points, the board decided on the recently-passed budget, mainly because of the quality of the Wi-Fi and power sources.
The money will come from the rollover account, which stores leftover money from the SGA budget.
“Year after year, this amount accrues to an unnecessary large amount,” Friederich said. “There’s no reason to have several-hundred-thousand dollars just sitting in the account.”
In the past, money from this account has been used by other executive boards for other projects, including the Brita water filters and the bike share program.
“We aren’t doing this because SGA executives wanted to see this happen,” SGA President Mike Keller said. “It’s something students have been asking for.”
The project was relatively easy as the space was already available and easy to work with, Keller said. Students can expect to see progress on the area by commencement in May.
Future executive boards will probably look to add lighting to the area, Keller said. After students use the space for a few years, it will be easier to see what other things are in demand.
People have also talked about adding some sort of coffee kiosk or cart in the future so students working in the area wouldn’t have to walk all the way to Starbucks, Keller said.
The patio will hopefully offset the demand for more outdoor study space on the Starbucks patio, he said, which has proven difficult to work with due to space issues and negotiations with Aramark.