A new future has been approved for Snyder Hall, but questions remain on what changes the project will bring to the UCC community. The UCC Board of Trustees, advised by a committee made up of faculty and students as well as community members voted unanimously on a proposal to rebuild Snyder based on preliminary plans created by Portland architectural firm, Mahlum Architects.
The project is expected to cost nearly $4.5 million, according to Director of Facilities Jess Miller.
Miller said that the advisory committee initially wanted to keep Snyder intact, but the physical state of the 50 year-old building made them decide otherwise.
“All the mechanical systems are failing, and if they’re not failing they’re closed,” Miller said. “So it makes sense to maybe go ahead and take care of that now.”
The need to apply for state funds drove the rapid decision on Snyder, said Jason Aase, dean of Arts and Sciences and a member of the advisory committee.
“We didn’t have much of a choice. It has to do with the legislature and when they’re meeting; they have deadlines for when the proposal needs to be in,” Aase said.
The state legislature is expected to address the request for funds at a special session meeting in February.
The current plans for the new structure include a walled garden and six classrooms created by splitting three main rooms with temporary walls. A row of ten faculty offices in the design face out to the UCC fountain and may feature large windows. The building incorporates a student lounge that will benefit from natural light from the new open-roof design.
Approximately 80 percent of the people contacted for this article had not yet seen the concept art and floor plan for the proposal, but first reactions regarding the overall look and roof design were mostly positive.
“I really like it; I think it’s a very beautiful design,” UCC student Kristen Brady said.
“It looks fantastic. I’m glad they’re getting something done at least, and if they’re going to make it a better place, then I’m happy. It looks like it’ll be a nice place to study as well,” Evan Burns, a history major, said.
Miller said that the building’s security systems would be fully updated “to have the best of everything basically.” He said the committee faced difficulties deciding on a building that would maximize every aspect of safety.
“What you consider to be safe in one direction may not be safe in another direction,” Miller said. “If you put up a rock wall and say that will keep people out — it will also keep people in.” The two doors into the re-build design presented the same problem: some thought they increased security by reducing access while others are concerned they reduce the ability to exit quickly.
Discussion concerning the walled garden is ongoing, with a student at the Snyder committee objecting that the closed space would feel like a jail. The private aspect is appealing to others, however.
“I guess it would be, like, this little Zen place where you could hang out if you need a minute to be by yourself,” Brady said.
The garden, although reflective, will not be the official Oct. 1 memorial. A separate memorial being planned by local businesses to be erected at a Pacific Power office in Green will not be the formal UCC memorial either. The official memorial project will be overseen by a separate committee, which does not convene until after the one year anniversary in October, 2016.
This committee will be looking for input from staff, faculty, students and possibly community members when the time comes.
Regarding the Snyder rebuild, several teachers across campus are also concerned about sound problems across the three temporary walls featured in the plans, as well as the issue of class sizes should the walls be removed to make larger classrooms. The feature would resemble existing hinged, sectional walls at the Lang Center.
“In my classroom in the Tech Center with hinged walls, sound is a problem. When I play a video loud enough that students can hear the dialogue, the class on the other side says they can’t hear their teacher,” said writing instructor Melinda Benton.
Amy Fair, the writing department chair, is also concerned about the temporary walls in the current Snyder rebuild design.
“I hope they reconsider once they start getting feedback because I know the feedback from instructors has been that that’s not a great idea,” Fair said.
Aase said that one of the reasons for including the non-permanent walls may have been overall building flexibility, but he also emphasized that the plans were not final.
“A lot of what’s drawn can still change and probably will change,” Aase said.
Public and Community Relations staff at UCC also said that the drawings are preliminary and that input is still being sought on the project.
The architectural renderings of the new Snyder Hall along with public feedback forms will be available in the Student Center starting on Monday, Jan. 25. Feedback on the Snyder Hall design can also be sent to public.information @umpqua.edu.