West Pine Gym renovations underway

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West Pine Gym renovations underway

John Schuler/Photo Editor

John Schuler/Photo Editor

John Schuler/Photo Editor

John Schuler/Photo Editor

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Construction on the new Center for Global Citizenship has progressed over the fall semester and is set to be finished in May of 2013. Located in the under-utilized Bauman-Eberhardt building, the Center for Global Citizenship project began last year in an effort to turn the West Pine Gym into a location for students to congregate.

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“The idea of the Center for Global Citizenship is to get the most out of a space that hasn’t really been used on campus,” Student Government Association president Blake Exline said. “The Bauman-Eberhardt building will be renovated into a center which will really encompass a lot of different things, like international studies, the Center for Community Service and Engagement and the Cross Cultural Center.”

According to Exline, the intent is to turn the building into a multi-functional space to serve several different groups on Saint Louis University’s campus. The complete building will feature new office spaces for the Cross Cultural Center, which is currently located in the Busch Student Center, and the student groups that work within the CCC.

On the first floor, the bowl-style seating of the basketball court will be converted half into an atrium for students to hang out and study in, while the other half will be an all-purpose auditorium for presentations and performances. The auditorium will have a video screen and seat a few hundred people. At this time, the hope is to conserve the original wood floor of the basketball court in an effort to preserve some of the old gym’s historical significance.

“The architect of the building described it as more of a ‘living room’ space on campus,” Exline said. “Other places we have on campus don’t necessarily provide that living room type space for students, so we want to create a space for that.”

On the second floor, there will be a bridge that stretches across the middle of the building. There will also be an international café that will feature a variety of international foods.

“The café is something we want to develop to make it as effective and useful for students as possible,” Exline said. “We will be providing a menu that will live up to the theme of global citizenship. How that will play into our food goes beyond having pita and hummus or pizza as ‘Italian’. We want to get in touch with what international food means.”

According to Vice President of Diversity and Social Justice, Sean Worley, the Center is meant to serve as a reminder for the student body about what being a global citizen actually means.

“In my opinion, a global citizen is someone who is a member not only of their immediate community, but also recognizes what their actions and behaviors can do to the global community,” Worley said. “It goes beyond saying ‘I’ve been to another country’ or ‘I have friends from other countries.’ I think it means to be intentional and mindful of the issues in the world.”

Worley hopes that by putting an emphasis on global citizenship, the SLU community will be encouraged to think of the larger issues facing the global community and not just focus on those within the “SLU bubble.”

Currently, the builders are working on the concrete infrastructure and other essential components of the building, but SGA and other involved parties are beginning to think about the cosmetic decisions that need to be made. Two weeks ago, SGA held a vote for the student body to pick the furniture that will go in the finished center.

“We concluded the furniture-voting process and we had quite a number of votes on that,” Exline said. “We got some good student feedback from that.”

Apart from the furniture, however, the need for student feedback has been limited.

Exline said that when the time comes to pick color schemes and other visual elements, more feedback will be collected, but prior to that, students can always submit ideas and opinions to the SGA email account.

“Right now it’s a lot of non-exciting stuff going on, mostly just things that are needed for the building to function, but aren’t really flashy” Exline said. “We will collect student feedback for most of the cosmetic stuff.”