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Marshall Center architects discuss new plans

USF won’t get its new student union for Christmas this year, but it did take an important step to get the project going on Thursday.

Top officials from USF and the Phyllis P. Marshall Center and representatives from the two architectural firms that will work on the new student union met to begin meetings in order to discuss the details of the project.

Sasaki and Gould Evans will be working together to design and build the new student union, which is tentatively scheduled to be completed by summer 2008.

“Our firms have worked together before,” Alan Resnick of Sasaki said. “Our sense is that you leave the name of the firm at the door and you walk in and you’re just an architect.”

The meeting was the first of many chances for University officials to lay out what they want to see in the new student union.

The Marshall Center staff conducted research over the years to find out what exactly the students want in a new student union, and the results make up the nearly 100-page USF Marshall Center Feasibility and Programming Study.

Guy Conway, director of the Marshall Center, played a large part in that research and has a committee of students that he deals with regularly about the new student union. The idea of having a student attend the meetings regularly was tossed around, but ultimately it was decided that Conway would represent the students.

Student input will be taken into account at the meetings through Conway, but for all intents there will be a chance for the administration and the Board of Trustees to guide the project until it is eventually completed.

“I’m not as concerned with the student input because I believe Guy has a handle on that,” Vice President of Student Affairs Jennifer Capeheart-Meningall said during the meeting. “I’m more concerned with being responsible to the Board of Trustees and (President Judy Genshaft’s) Cabinet.”

USF’s Chief Financial Officer Carl Carlucci made it clear during the meeting that he wanted to make sure the design of the new student union did not take precedence over the function of it.

He said he will try to make sure the project stays as financially practical and responsible as possible, limiting frills in order to make sure the most practical amenities are put into the building.

Both Sasaki and Gould Evans have worked on various student unions throughout the nation.

Sasaki has worked on student unions on the campuses of UNC-Greensboro, University of Maryland and Merrimack College.

Some student unions that Gould Evans has worked on include Arizona State University, Pittsburgh State University and the University of Kansas.

Gould Evans recently dealt with USF; they worked on the new addition to the Business Administration building.