Members discuss the state of Union facilities

MOST OF THE MEMBERS OF THE 2015-2016 RENSSELAER UNION EXECUTIVE BOARD POSE for a group photo in their polo shirts.

On Thursday, March 10, the Rensselaer Union Executive Board meeting opened with no agenda. The night’s meeting focused on facility reports that members of the E-Board delivered based on their personal research and inquiry.

Ines Roman ’16 and Gregory Bartell ’17, who were in charge of the Mueller Center, reported the facility’s need to replace worn equipment and materials such as the plastic mirrors in the weight room, the ballet bars in the aerobics room, the carpeting, and the sound system. Besides upgrades, they are also looking into getting rid of the lockers between the Armory and the Mueller Center and potentially replacing them with lockable cubbies.

Charles Kirchner ’17 and Nick Schlatz ’16 reported on the RPI Playhouse. The facility is interested in replacing their office computer, repairing the poor ventilation system in their dressing room, replacing the incandescent lightbulbs in the dressing room with LED lights, and resurfacing their stage. These were the most pressing issues overall.

Matt Rand ’19 and Matt Beaudoin ’19 investigated the situation of RPI’s Model Railroad. The facility is housed in a basement with poor ventilation, causing the humidity to range unpredictably, which can cause damage to the models. A better ventilation source would also improve the predicament of profuse dust in the air.

Hanging above the sets are exposed pipes that, in addition to having an unseemly appearance, drip condensation, leading to the facility’s need of a false ceiling. Rubber mats, shelves for storage, and some lounge couches were the closing requests of Model Railroad. The facility is also interested in having their own separate space to charge admission and get the community involved.

Harrison Kang ’16 evaluated the conditions of RPI’s J-Building, which operates as the headquarters of a few entrepreneurships and tech support. Upon looking for ideas of what needs to be improved upon, the facility informed Kang that it was undergoing renovations currently and was not in dire need of the Student Union’s help at present.

Graduate student Nick Thompson visited Academy Hall and assessed what was in need of the Union’s attention. For starters, the floors in the auditorium are full of holes and the slats that make up the floor are loose. On the other hand, the dance studio floor has recently been redone and is still in impeccable shape. The facility’s second major issue is their balcony. While this resembles an issue the administration should be charged with, the facility still voiced concern for the safety of individuals who choose to sit up there. Besides those pressing matters, Academy Hall also brought awareness to their need for better lighting and a sound system, making their facility wheelchair-accessible, and placing some sort of protective layer over the sharp surface of the stage’s edge.

Shannon Gillespie ’17 reported on the Armory. Being one of the older facilities on campus, it had many items in need of review and repair, the first of which was an issue with temperature control. Currently, there is no air conditioner, but hoods that circulate the air. Gillespie is looking into procuring a large fan to replace the hoods with. The track floor and the carpeting in the lobby area before the entrance of the pool are both in need of being replaced. Alongside repairs, the facility has an interest in revamping its volleyball and racketball courts.

Kirk Bittner ’16 and Jeremy Feldman ’16 investigated the Union building’s status, meeting with Associate Director of Union Operations Joe Campo. The facility is interested in adding new equipment to the game room, such as an air hockey table and foosball table, converting the alcoves into a student-run café (the Union is currently gauging student interest in this project), and upgrading more of the meeting rooms on the third floor. This upgrade would include the installation of projectors and other sources of media.

Erica Lane ’18 evaluated the Darrin Communications Center and the clubs that operate within it. It has been expressed that students are interested in converting the floor between the second and third level into a lounge area, and Senate may already be working towards that goal. WRPI, the on-campus, student-run broadcast radio, is housed in the lower levels of the DCC. Their needs include new chairs, soundproofing two of their studios, and a small sign that would inform people on how to find their offices. UPAC Cinema, which operates in DCC 308, commented on updating the sound system and seating in the lecture hall.

Donna Moleta ’18 was charged with working with RPI Ambulance. Moleta reported that the building in which RPI ambulance is housed is in disrepair and in need of inspection.RPI Ambulance often brings students who do not need hospitalization to their building, and their facility is not well-equipped: their bathroom has no drainage, and the sink in their Field House rooms and in the East Campus Activity Village, where they keep their patients, has a sulfur smell.

Senate/E-Board Liason and graduate student Jen Church reported on RPI’s ham radio club, which operates out of two old, combined construction trailers from when ECAV was being built. This makeshift housing is in need of several repairs and replacements, including an awning to protect their cables from rain and snow, sealing the trailers to make them waterproof, and installing insulation to manage the temperature. The ham radio is a part of the emergency broadcast network, and it runs on a generator. Their equipment is expensive and vital to their continuation.

With these issues in mind, the E-Board members will go on to lay out plans and prices, keeping in mind which issues take priority.