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Nov. 17, 2014

Students voice concerns on master plan

By Jaclyn Seymour

SmithGroupJJR, a national leading architectural firm, was appointed last spring by Cleveland State University architects to develop and finalize the master plan.

With the final visit and draft presentation concluded Oct. 7, the master plan is coming to a wrap, but the work is only just beginning.

The master plan has created a buzz around a campus filled with questions about how the future look of Cleveland State will impact the students.

The purpose of the master plan, according to the plan itself, is to enhance the academic and research reputation, improve Cleveland State student experience and success and manage resources in fiscally changing times.

SmithGroupJJR created a plan to follow through on those things by putting together two committees – a Steering Committee and an Executive Committee – and six campus visits.

During the campus visits, SmithGroupJJR collected student responses to gather what students think needs tender, love and care around campus. Some of the feedback, according to the plan, was to see an increase in student space, more commuter lounges, more food and longer hours and food located in the library and fixes to Rhodes Tower.

Students like senior, Urban Affairs major Yolanda Torres thinks the master plan is a great way for Cleveland State to improve, however, she still has some concerns.

“I feel like the plan is a great way to improve campus,” Torres said. “However, there are a few things that need to be changed, in my opinion.”

One concern from students is the way the plan wants to incorporate more commuter space. The master plan has tearing out the central garage and putting in a quad filled with green space for student recreation as one way of doing so.

Students like sophomore, Promotional Communication major Marko Janjevtovic said the campus is trying to do too much for being located in Downtown Cleveland.

“We’re in Downtown Cleveland,” Janjevtovic said. “How green can you get?”

He also explained how being located in Cleveland only gives students the chance to enjoy the outside weather is early in the Fall semester and late in the spring semester.

“I don’t see the point in making more lounging space outside when it’s only warm enough outside two months of the year,” he said. “Nobody is going to be outside during the winter. They’ll be more so worried about finding parking close to their classes so they don’t have to walk outside in the cold.”

According to the master plan draft, the central garage demolition is listed under the “short-term priority” list, but the new garage construction is listed under the “long-term priority” section.
Torres feels the new garage should be a priority immediately if Cleveland State wants to tear down a parking garage.

“If they are planning to tear down central garage, a new parking garage should be constructed immediately,” Torres said. “I have a feeling that this is going to cause a huge problem with parking and will eventually cause parking passes to go up from the already ridiculous amount.”

Erin Whitehead, junior Business major, said that more green space is not a priority for students whose priority is to go to class.

“Why is it more important to have a green space for students to hang out in than it is to have parking for students who want to go to class,” she questioned.
However, parking is not the only issue causing a buzz around campus. Only the second issue is creating excitement.

Junior Operations and Supply Chain Management major Jonathan Diaz said the renovation ideas for the library are great ideas.

“As far as their plan for [the library], I think they have great ideas,” Diaz said. “If they put places to eat there then students won’t have to leave when they’re studying — especially around midterms and finals — so if they plan to do something with that empty space then I say they do it and put it to good use the student body would like.”

Torres still has concerns about the library renovations because she said she has a hard time finding space to study in there now, and worries the master plan is taking away more study space.

“[If] they are planning to remove more study spaces, it is difficult to find a study space since they turned the silent study floor into the math emporium,” she said. “I still think [the math emporium] was a waste of money in the first place.”

One other change that stuck out to Diaz was the plan to tear down the Chester Building. This raises the question of where they would relocate the majors that he said are growing in popularity.

“It’s a bad idea to tear down the Chester building,” Diaz said. “That’s home to a lot of great majors that are getting more and more popular.”

SmithGroupJJR will be presenting their final draft of the master plan to the Cleveland State Board of Trustees for approval Wednesday, Nov. 19 and the company will be speaking with The Stater after the final approval.