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Student center suffers student damage

In the two weeks the new Marshall Student Center has been open, it has endured more wear and tear than its director or head architect ever expected.

Though most of the damage is unintentional, said Marshall Student Center Director Joe Synovec, careless students are responsible for some of the harm.

One example that stands out is a footprint on the second floor. It is scratched into the wooden ledge near the staircase, Synovec said. The only way to repair it is to sand down the wood and polish it again.

“We don’t know how it got there,” he said.

Marshall Student Center staff said they also found gum stuck to the backs of chairs and pencil marks on the walls.

“(Those) were intentional,” Synovec said.

Other examples he gave, like stains on the walls from students rubbing their blue jeans or backpacks against them as they walk, were accidental but something the building was not prepared for.

“We didn’t realize the impact the walls would take,” he said.

Some walls have to be repainted, but the architects who designed the student union are looking into ways to better protect them.

John Curran, vice president of Gould Evans Architecture and head architect of the Marshall Student Center project, said they will probably apply a fiber reinforced laminate — the same kind of laminate found on countertops — to the walls.

“It wasn’t done before because it was originally cost-prohibitive,” he said. “It’s not often you get an opportunity to get those laminates on the projects because of the expense. In most cases, the walls can put up with the damage.”

The Marshall Student Center, however, is not like most buildings. Curran said he has never seen a building accumulate so much wear and tear in its first two weeks.

“It was very unusual to say the least, but it comes with the territory of a student union,” he said.

Gabby Garton, a freshman majoring in chemistry, said the damage does more than tarnish the building.

“It’s really disrespectful to your fellow students,” she said.

Ayame Shiba, an international student from Japan, said it wasn’t disrespectful but students should be more aware.

“It’s a public place,” she said. “We should be careful about making marks.”

Synovec said he wants the students to treat the building with the same respect and care as they would their own houses.

“Or maybe their parents’ houses,” he said.