Student Technology Services to move to Ursa’s Stageside

| Senior News Editor

A plan to move Student Technology Services into a renovated Ursa’s Stageside is in preliminary stages, according to Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Rob Wild.

Ursa’s closed as a dining facility in 2013 but remained open for programming and event reservations; however, the administration has been considering alternate uses for the spaces for some time.

“About two years ago, we went through an internal planning process to look at…how could we think about that space differently in the future,” Wild said. “And so, there was a plan that is in the very early stages of development to move Student Technology Services [to Ursa’s] because they need their space; they’ve kind of outgrown their space in Gregg.”

Wild envisions the space as both a technological center as well as a collaborative place for students.

“[The idea is] to move STS into Ursa’s and renovate it so that it becomes kind of…a student engagement hub, where students can come in not just for their technology needs, but there could be some meeting rooms,” Wild said. “[A place] where students could work together on projects and do design work; so, architecture students or engineering students would have the ability to work in there.”

Though there are no set plans yet, Wild pictures a type of space similar to the Fun Room in the Danforth University Center in appearance and layout.

“If you think of the Fun Room at the DUC, that has like these garage doors that you can keep the space all open, or you can close the garage doors and create smaller spaces,” Wild said. “So, if you had a student organization that wanted to have a meeting or a study group, then you could create that. Or you could make it all one giant open space if you wanted to have like a reception in there.”

Ursa’s Operations Manager and senior Brandon Burger described Ursa’s Nitelife as more of a “programming body” that receives funding through the Congress of the South 40. He does not foresee their programming activities ending despite the closing of their current space.

“Ursa’s Nitelife will continue to program late nights around the South 40 as long as we continue to get the funding from [CS40],” Burger said. “So, the programs will go on, but we won’t be in the current space.”

Wild recognized that once Ursa’s closes, they will need to recreate a similar kind of event space that Ursa’s currently provides for annual events such as Battle of the Bands.

“We’ve talked to the students who work with Ursa’s, and we know that there’s a desire for program space,” Wild said. “Whatever we do in Ursa’s Stageside, we would want to make sure we have a plan for the events that have been held in there moving forward.”

Berger emphasized that despite the closing, the programming will continue whether they are relocated to Gregg or another space.

“I think there are a lot of students who attend those events at Ursa’s,” Berger said. “I think it is essential as an alternative source of late-night programming; so, I think that students won’t be too appreciative of when the space does close, but I think the fact that programming will still be provided will help ease that blow.”

For now, Ursa’s Stageside will remain open through the end of the academic year.

“There’s no timeline, there’s no budget; so, it would not start before the summer of 2019,” Wild said. “That would be the earliest.”

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