Renovations Spice Up Lounge
Devaughn Patterson, Reporter
September 11, 2012
Filed under News
The commuter lounge is much more inviting after a much-needed renovation. The work was sparked by a commuter council and student government petition.
Junior Heather Marsicano feels the former “Blacktop Lounge, now dubbed the “Cougar Lounge,” is a great place for everyone to interact but especially for commuters, whose off-campus housing makes it difficult to meet other students.
“The commuter lounge helps them feel a “homey” feeling, and feel a little more welcome,” she said.
Senior Cory Chikowski, Commuter Council president, said the lounge’s design allows for student interaction and makes it a great place to meet new friends or catch up with old ones.
“Students are going to fall in love with the new lounge. It has kept all the great qualities that made the old lounge great plus it offers so much more,” Chikowski said. “Everything in the lounge is brand new and the layout for the space has been carefully planned to meet all of the student’s needs.”
Sophomore Megan Phillips likes the flow of the space–and she’s grateful for its modern amenities.
“It smells better, there’s no gap between the walls and the floor, there’s different seating and it’s arranged differently,” Phillips said.
“It’s nice that they redid it, and that makes commuters feel more welcome to know that they updated this, they painted this, new furniture, new carpet like it’s for us. It’s nice and it feels good,” Marsicano said.
Marsicano said she might visit more often now.
“When you walked in before it was old rundown, beaten up, forgotten. Now it’s warm, cozy and it’s more welcoming,” Marsicano said.
“The university has given us all new carpeting, furniture, paint, kitchen supplies and so on. The new lounge even has a separate kitchen and two offices for faculty members. Students will find themselves much more comfortable in the lounge now that the temperature is well controlled and the air is fresh and clean,” Chikowski said.
Dean of Students Kit Foley said that the new space received a top-to-bottom renovation.
“There’s actually a new heating and cooling system so there’s now air conditioning and there’s good heating in there,” Foley said. “It hasn’t been renovated in a long time so it’s really important for students to go into. It’s a brand new area so it’s a great place for students to go and gather and study and just kind of hang out together.”
The Cougar Lounge offers wireless Internet access and extended hours of operation until 2 a.m.
“It’s a great space for students particularly for those who live in McHale Hall that may need to find some space because it’s pretty crowded in there, so we’re going to keep it open until 2 in the morning so students can go in there. It’s wireless too. You can take a laptop, iPad, et cetera and easily do work in there,” Foley said.
There are also counters in the hallway and many electrical outlets so students can use use their loptops and charge them. In addition, the kitchen area includes a separate cooking space, which includes a new refrigerator, stove and microwave.
Foley said the increased hours are one of the most notable upgrades, and one students had requested.
“We used to close when the Student Success Center closed so when it became a separate building we kept it open a little later,” she said. “Some students had asked if we can open it longer because they found it a great place to study and do some group work so we extended the hours.”
And it’s now a place where student want to be–and that’s a far cry from the decay of the former lounge. “There was grass growing up between the walls and floor, and when it rained hard enough the fire pit was transformed into a Jacuzzi of sorts. The ceiling leaked, the bathrooms stunk, the air was uncomfortable, and the furniture was broken. Everything was outdated,” Chikowski said.
The work is the result of action by the commuter council and student government whose members created a petition, brought it to student government, who brought it to the president’s cabinet to call attention to the state of the former lounge and seek change. “I hope students can see that their voice was heard and it’s a place for them to hang out, hopefully a home away from home,” Foley said.
The remodeling of the lounge cost about $275,000 and work took two-and-a- half months. Some finishing touches remain.
“They’re still finishing the roof. There are some minor things that need to be completed in there. Mirrors have to be hung in the bathrooms, but the majority of the work is done and students can use it,” Foley said.