New University Center leaves bad first impression on students
By BRANDON QUINTIN
The University of Mary Washington’s new University Center is at the “center” of attention, and not for good reasons.
Last week, for example, the fire alarms went off on three separate occasions, and I sympathize with the unfortunate students who had their meals interrupted three times in the first week of classes.
Unlike upperclassmen, such as myself, all 1,001 incoming freshmen are forced to use their meal swipes exclusively in the University Center.
Perhaps these new freshman meal plans, that cost $500 more than the next highest option, beg the question of whether the new building’s enormous price tag was a bit too much for the University to bare.
However, this is not the only bad impression that the new University Center has made on the student body.
The website of the University Center’s design and architectural firm, Stantec, lists $43.4 million as the apparent cost of the project. That is nearly $11,000 for each student, about enough to cover an entire year’s tuition for Virginia residents.
However, when one looks at the actual price of the University Center, which was $56 million, it is actually $14,000 per student.
Moreover, since freshmen are forced to use their meal swipes only in the University Center, going elsewhere will quickly drain them of their $200 flex. The new University Center is the epitome of this school’s decision to choose quantity over quality.
Nearly everyone at UMW can agree that Seacobeck Hall was a bit dated, but it got the job done. Was a slightly better replacement really worth $56 million?
No, especially as tuition faces another increase at a hefty eight percent.
Further, the University Center is not the only subject of complaint when it comes to the changes made to campus dining this semester.
The Nest, which is usually a place filled with constant activity during lunch and dinner hours, is now a shell of its former self.
Joe Stacks has been downsized, divided and made less accessible in its move to the University Center along with WOW Wingery, which only serves a small selection of its original menu. Additionally, the Underground, which features Naturally Woodstock, is only open for
And although Qdoba and Jamba Juice are a new and exciting additions to campus, their menus are limited and expensive.
If the quality of the food at UMW significantly improved then I would consider being less critical, however, that is not the case.
UMW is blindly following the path paved by other universities: increase number of students, add new flashy buildings to attract even more and increase tuition to pay for it all.
Instead of following the herd, UMW should have made the decision to relish in its small, liberal arts college roots.
The University Center should be our issue of concern for now. As students, we should demand more from our school, far more than an unneeded $56 million building with defective fire alarms and slow elevators.