This past week, there were two open discussions with the architect of the new Gates Center for Computer Science, and there will be another on April 20. There are also plans for a new athletic fieldhouse.
On March 18, every student received an e-mail from Official Communications. The e-mail contained a link to a survey that had questions about what students would like to see in the new fieldhouse and how frequently they would use certain features. Despite the misleading subject line of the e-mail (“University Health & Wellness Survey”), the survey has had an amazing response rate. The data from the survey, which show that students want more basketball and racquetball courts, have been passed along to the architecture firm to help them design the building.
The architecture firm also had an opportunity to meet with several different groups when it came to campus at the end of March. These groups had smaller working group meetings in which they discussed their desired space in the new building. This will help the architects bring a better plan back to campus when they return in the next week or so.
Two questions remain: Where will it go, and when will it be built? Since the size of the new building is about that of the current Skibo Gym, there are few places it could actually fit. The proposed locations now are where Skibo is currently; on the intramural fields; around the tennis courts; or in the Morewood parking lot, if the master plan comes to fruition. It is important to remember that these spots have only been mentioned. It is possible that none of them will be used for the fieldhouse.
Finally, the question of how to finance the building seems to be the limiting factor. Because Carnegie Mellon has a smaller endowment than many of its peer institutions, the school is going to have to rely on fundraising campaigns prior to the construction of the highly desired fieldhouse. I would love to see a large donation in the near future, but would also like to remind students to consider giving money back to the University when they graduate to help build the fieldhouse. If you have ever exercised on campus, you have noticed the condition and the limited number of facilities.
Once constructed, this building will help improve campus life and allow the school to focus on other problem areas.