In Focus: Are Holmes Student Center renovations necessary?

By Perspective Staff

Faith Mellenthin

I think it could be a good change to campus, just badly timed.

The renovation plans of the Holmes Student Center will provide a much needed space for all types of students to socialize. As a student who loves to stay on campus during the day, I am looking forward to the renovations.

Currently, the NIU student community is excellent but compartmentalized; residence hall students have their community centers, and each college has its own community center. To me, the interior design of Holmes does not provide a community atmosphere even though the name, Student Center, describes it as such.

I only worry that the construction will take even longer than projected. According to the Holmes Student Center homepage, construction will start in the summer or fall of 2018 and will be finished in the fall of 2019. The financials are completely covered under Build America Bonds and do not look like they will be of concern. Additionally, NIU is in the middle of finding a new president, which may cause distractions during such a big construction project.

While I think the renovation will be a wonderful addition, I am worried that the timing is not ideal, and I will not be a student here by the time construction is finished.

Maddie Steen

By the fall of 2019, NIU is supposed to have completed the unnecessary $20 million renovations that will be paid for by borrowing money through bonds, according to the Holmes Student Center website.

It’s ridiculous the university decides to remodel the student center yet not any of the crumbling buildings that students live and attend class in – but at least it’s not students’ money being used to pay for the construction.

I would love to see changes made and the Holmes Student Center improved, but not right now. Not only do I think more renovations on Neptune are necessary, but last year professors got their office phones taken away, the Chick Evans Field House closed due to a lack of funds, the ceilings in academic buildings were leaking and staff was let go, according to a May 4 Northern Star article.

It seems like the school’s main priority is to gain back a reputation that helps people forget former President Doug Baker, the crime plaguing surrounding neighborhoods and the budget crisis. Instead of targeting internal issues, let’s just use the most well-known building as a distraction.

Perspective students are going to be led to believe that our campus is state-of-the-art because of the Holmes Student Center. It’s not fair if they commit then end up in the back of their second semester math class with water leaking onto them and the bucket that was placed there as a solution.

Maddie Smith

The Holmes Student Center renovations will make the HSC more of a focal point on campus and give students a center location to get together and enjoy numerous added amenities.

The plan for the Holmes Student Center is to remodel the first floor. NIU will add new food venders, highlight the Huskies Den and make it easier to navigate. The renovations are estimated to cost around $20 million, according to a Sept. 29 Northern Star article.

Currently, the sectioned-off layout makes it difficult to get around the building because the University Bookstore sits right in the way, and the main seating area is basically in a straight line down the middle.

While living on campus from freshman through junior year, the HSC wasn’t much of a place to hang out with friends or organizations, especially on the first floor. It was nice to be able to run through and get an iced-coffee at Coffee Corner if I was on my way to class or work nearby, but otherwise, I didn’t go out of my way to spend time at the Student Center.

With the renovations, NIU also wants to better emphasize the Blackhawk Café, which I think is a great idea because it’s definitely underutilized by students. Not only does it have great food, but it has a really cool view of the Huskies Den below. Getting more students there will garner more attention for the Huskies Den and other current amenities, like The Grind.

I definitely feel that renovating the HSC is a great idea, especially since the money is already available, according to the Sept. 29 Northern Star article. It will really heighten the sense of community on campus and become a great space for NIU students. It’ll give all students a place to relax, study, eat and spend time with friends no matter what they’re usually involved in on campus.