Field House of Dreams: If You Build It, They Will Come

By Carolyn Stransky

Recently, the Commission on Space Use Planning (CSUP) and the Office of Communications and Marketing has been looking into what facilities may need to be changed or reestablished. One main concern is the Field House.

“The president has said when asked about what are some physical things we are aware of, I think it’s fair to say, the Field House is a concern,” said Jason Hughes, Director of Communications and Marketing. “On top of that, one of the other things we’re looking at is Pearsons, and how it functions as a student center. CSUP is asking that question. Are these facilities meeting our needs.”

When asked about options and the Field House situation, the college sees a potential need for a student activity center. “In different places, such as conversations with the president, we have raised the possibility of using the vacant building across the river. We have asked the questions, is this a space we could utilize, is it doable and adequate for what we need,” said Hughes. “Knowing what we know about the Field House, there are a variety of places we could consider as a site for a student activity center. It’s just so early at this point.”

Although Pearsons does serve as a student union, a need is expressed for an indoor  recreational space as well. Across the river, there is a great, empty building. Although it has been there for over a century, it was decommissioned just a few years ago – and it is now raising discussions of some changes on campus.

“It’s on our ‘wish list’ to have a student activity center. Is that vacant building sitting on the river enticing? Absolutely, but we’re looking toward the months ahead to begin this process and having CSUP and others looking into the possibilities,” said Hughes.

With larger-scale projects like this, Beloit is unique in its approach. Funding comes primarily through donations, especially from alumni. “When we get into something like this, by and large the next step is to see which of these plans are fundable through gifts. As an institution, what we have to avoid is doing a large scale project that doesn’t resonate with our donors,” said Hughes. “We don’t just save up money and go buy things. We’re looking for a project that makes sense to donors and makes sense for the campus. It has to do both.”

More conclusions on this topic, including the question of whether or not the college will have a model developed for this and the necessary donor funding, will commence at the beginning of next semester.



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