Gardner Center renovations could begin over winter break

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Walls and tight spaces kept the Gardner Center from being a prime hangout spot, but jangling guitar chords and laughter will soon resonate. 

The Dixie State College Student Association created a fund directly from student fees to make major additions to the Gardner Center—particularly the space with couches, televisions and desks near the east entrance. 

Obtaining sufficient money for renovations and additions is a long-term goal, but at a Nov. 13 meeting, DSC administrators approved a plan to utilize a portion of the funds for immediate changes.

Dean of Students Del Beatty said once DSCSA members realized possible short-term actions could compliment future changes, ideas were quickly gathered.

“The student leaders wanted to renovate the building for the past couple of years, but it’s only been in the past few weeks they’ve realized they can financially afford to do it,” Beatty said.

The opening of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons also makes changes more pertinent.

Jordon Sharp, director of student involvement and leadership, said Gardner Center attendance dropped because of other campus additions. By implementing coffee house vibes like at other Utah universities, students can better utilize the building for social gatherings.

“We don’t want the Holland building to become the new student center,” Beatty said. “We want [the Gardner Center] to have that traditional student center feel where you come over and there’s activities, music and food.” 

An upbeat environment is contrary to the sounds of computer keys and scratching pencils heard now on the Gardner Center’s first floor. Tia Matthews, a sophomore communication major from Las Vegas, said potential renovations are surprising because the area seems like a study hall, but the change is positive.

“[The renovated area] can give students a good break and a good laugh, instead of a place to just stress and prepare,” Matthews said.

Actions to make the Gardner Center feel more like a student center and prominent gathering point for students and clubs include painting the green on the roof, an expensive process that DSC President Stephen Nadauld has agreed to fund; adding new furniture to the first floor living room; taking out walls; and implementing a small stage that can be used for various performances. 

Bids for a designer is a speed bump before work begins, and with well-planned execution, students can expect to come back after winter break and see progress.

The renovated space will give an alternative to the Gardner’s massive ballroom for events. Beatty said the stage in particular, surrounded by modern furniture and the aura of new, different colors, will give events a comfortable feeling.

“Sometimes the ballroom is too big,” Beatty said. “[Many] student centers have desk-sized stages.”

The creation of a stage and painting of the Gardner’s exteriors are major projects, but Mikaela Bair, a freshman music major from Pleasant View, said she is anticipating more furniture.

“More furniture is good because it is always crowded in here,” Bair said.

Because the area is often crowded, fewer walls will also give students room to breathe and communicate with peers.

“It will be more open and won’t feel as secluded, so everyone can be more together,” said Karly Dellasilva, a freshman psychology major from Syracuse.

The DSCSA continues to brainstorm ways to appropriate future funds, and DSC student input is encouraged; surveys are part of a plan to let students’ voices be heard on renovation and addition issues.

Sharp said the DSCSA will continue to surprise and satisfy students with changes on campus.

“It’s [DSCSA’s] job to cater to students, and if students don’t feel comfortable or welcome, we aren’t doing our job,” Sharp said.

Students with questions, suggestions and feedback are encouraged to talk to student leaders in the DSCSA offices on the Gardner Center’s second floor or to visit Sharp in Room 208.