Sitting decrepit since severe flooding during the spring of 2007 rendered it largely unusable, Wallace Lounge is currently in the stages of a minor renovation designed to provide functionality to students in the short term and pave the way for more extensive and permanent renovations, hopefully over the next summer break.
“This effort is strictly – and I want complete clarification on this – this is just an interim solution to make the space useable until the remaining funds can be secured,” Director of Facilities Services Scott Maust said. “There’s rumor out there that this is the band-aid approach, that the college won’t do anything more to it and that is not true.”
The current plan is to fix up the hitherto unused space underneath the Hard Knox Café to the point where the general student population can use it at will. The interim fix is scheduled to be completed by May 1, largely dependent on the delivery and installation of stain-resistant carpet ordered by facilities.
“Basically all we’re doing is painting and carpet and we’re going to fix the window treatments a bit,” Maust said.
The prospect of a revitalized space has caused excitement for some students on campus.
“[WVKC] uses [Wallace Lounge] a lot and we’ve been pushing for some renovations down there,” Student Senate Vice President and senior Trevor Sorenson said. “It got flooded my freshman year. I never really used it that much, but if we’re looking for alternative party space on campus, it’s really the only one that’s available.”
The former orientation of the space will be flipped to have the lounge area in the outward facing lower area and the games room moved up.
“There is a foosball table down there that I think we’ll keep, two pool tables we’ll probably keep and I think the ping-pong table down there is usable as well,” Director of Campus Life Craig Southern said. “We’ll have to check. I’d love to –– nothing high tech, but maybe we’ll look into an electronic dart board, that kind of stuff, so that it’s not just pool tables. No schools just have pool tables. I don’t think we’ll be getting into a video game kind of thing just yet.”
Surplus and new furniture will also be moved into the space to provide a comfortable environment for students.
“Some of it depends on what they end up getting and what they already have in the way of surplus residence hall furniture,” Southern said, “but my guess is that we’ll probably go and buy some not cheap but not expensive sorts of things from Big Lots, that type of thing. This is all just for an interim kind of thing until it can be done correctly.”
While students are excited about the idea, more will need to be done to ensure Wallace is restored to its former glory.
“Students and faculty need to continue to push for it,” Sorenson said. “Regardless of current renovations, there still needs to be a very large push that it does get completed, because this could turn into one of those things that gets a band-aid fix and gets ignored. There is very little reason why that it’s taken this long to get accomplished. Theoretically, this sort of fix could have occurred weeks after it got flooded…It shouldn’t have taken three years to get done.”