Planning problems a concern as demolition continues

The Special Events Center will be gone soon, and Phyllis P. Marshall Center officials are discussing the impact that it will have on campus events.

Marshall Center Director Guy Conway has met with representatives from various USF organizations including Student Government and Academic Affairs to discuss the impact of not having the SEC during construction of the new Marshall Student Center from 2006 to 2008.

“(Our biggest concern is) there will be a limited number of spaces on campus to hold events for groups of 400 or more until the new Marshall Student Center is finished,” Conway said. “Until the new Marshall Student Center is complete, some events will move to the Sun Dome arena and Sun Dome Corral, Campus Recreation, Theatre I & II, Health Sciences Auditorium, Alumni Center, and possibly even a few events might move to community venues.”

Marshall Center directors were originally looking into a temporary instant structure, namely one by a company called Sprung Instant Structure.

According to the company’s Web site, a Sprung Instant Structure is lightweight, moveable and can be customized to be temporary or semi-permanent.

Assistant Marshall Center Director Joe Synovec told the Oracle in February that the Sprung Instant Structure would seat approximately 1,000 people, be air conditioned and have all the features of a regular building. He also said that once inside, it is very hard to tell it is not a regular building.

“Total cost for a Sprung Instant Structure, including the structure itself, a concrete foundation, bringing electricity and water to the site, restrooms, design fees and cost to construct, is approximately $1.5 million,” Conway said.

Although no formal decisions have been made, Conway does not think a Sprung Instant Structure will be used to replace the SEC.

“I think it’s probably cost prohibitive,” Conway said.

Conway said that so far, the demolition process is going smoothly.

Synovec said the replacement of the SEC with a Sprung Instant Structure was not needed.

“There are still a lot of facilities on this campus that can house 300-500 people,” Synovec said. “There are pros and cons to having an instant structure and pros and cons to not having one. I think we’ll be fine.”

According to Conway, Wangari Maathai’s lecture on environmental activism on March 23 was the last University Lecture Series hosted this year.

The lecture was originally going to be the last event in the SEC, but Conway said they decided to have orientation for transfer students on March 25, knowing that they would not start preparing for the demolition until this week.

“Because it does not need any formal setup and they can work around our equipment removal, we did grant the (Campus Activities Board’s) request for the foam party that will be held on March 30 as a last celebration for the students,” Conway said. “That will be the last event scheduled in the SEC.”