Belmont administration announced plans for space reallocation–including new practice rooms and a large organization meeting space– at a convocation panel Friday.
The panel, originally planned as a student forum called Ask Bob Fisher, was changed after the death of Fisher’s son on March 28.
Instead, the panel was hosted by University Counsel Jason Rogers, Provost Thomas Burns, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness Paula Gill, Vice President Todd Lake, Vice President for Development and External Relations Perry Moulds and Vice President of Finance and Operation Steve Lasley.
Among questions regarding university growth and available resources, administration shared finalized plans for space reallocation on campus– the result of a campus-wide proposal campaign beginning in November 2015.
“It came through loudly and clearly that we needed to focus first on large meeting space for students. We heard that throughout the proposals,” Gill said.
Administrators have decided to convert the former Gabhart Dining Hall into a large meeting space for student organizations with the space to hold more than 200 people, Gill said. Other sections of the old cafeteria will be used for divided smaller meeting spaces, conference rooms, a lounge and student organization office space.
Architects have already began plans for renovation. At this time, there are no plans for the upper level of Gabhart.
“It would be one thing if we were going in and painting the walls of the former dining space, but we’ve got to look at all the mechanical equipment, so we’re not sure until the architects really get in and start looking at the structure, doing a little more needs analysis– Dr. Burns and I will be meeting with the areas that will be moving in and using these spaces– to make sure that we’ll be using everything we need to consider,” Gill said.
One floor of the Hitch building will be converted into practice rooms for the School of Music. At this time, there are no other renovations planned for other buildings connected to the School of Music, Gill said.
Another floor of Hitch will be dedicated to the Sports Science and Administration program, which is currently housed in its own building on the edge of campus.
Bruin Vets have also been allotted space in Fidelity Hall, Gill said.
Plans are also in the works regarding new space for University Ministries and the Office of Campus Security.
“Our hope is that we can bring security officers that are currently on 12th Avenue back over into the Gabhart area,” Gill said.
These projects are what Gill considers “phase one” of renovation plans, she said.
As a part of “phase two,” Gill said, evaluations will be made of the Beaman facilities for possible use by the dance minors.
The decision comes after administration and Student Government Association reviewed all of the 51 submitted proposals, Gill said.
“I’m thrilled to announce that there was great alignment between the report that SGA provided and the thoughts that senior leadership had about what we should do with the space,” Gill said.
Photos by Zach Gilchriest.