BY KYLEIGH PANETTA
The new student commons is an exciting addition to Manhattan College, but its completion left approximately 30,000 square feet of empty space that needs to be assigned a different function.
Mr. Andrew Ryan, Vice President for Facilities, and Dr. Richard Satterlee, Vice President for Student Life, are just two of the many committee members responsible for soliciting ideas for space reallocation at MC. Satterlee said that the committee received many suggestions and will be prioritizing projects regarding the unused spaces created around campus due to the student commons.
“Re-purposing of any of the 30,000 square feet of space made available by the various units moving to the Commons is dependent of the relative costs associated with the proposal and the available funding in the budget,” Satterlee said.
According to Satterlee, Meghan Dinegar and Aedan McDunough are two students who were also representatives to the process and the new master plan for facilities. As of right now, some of the spaces that are not being used to their previous full potential include Dante’s Café and Leo Café. Currently, Dante’s is a vacant space that serves as an eyesore to tour groups, faculty and current students.
The small market that Dante’s previously contained was recently relocated to Café 1853. At the same time, the hot food section that was in Dante’s was relocated to the Kelly Commons. Satterlee said that the planning process in regards to Dante’s unused space will soon be started by the faculty on the committee for space allocation and MC’s Student Government Association.
The Leo Cafe’s previous food options were replaced by new vending machines and according to Sattlerlee, the rest of the space is, “available as an informal space for students to meet.”
According to Satterlee, he has received mostly positive comments on the spaces in the new commons and believes that it serves as a great link between north and south campus.
“Early use of the building shows just how important these spaces, located primarily on the first and second floor of the building, are to the life of the campus,” Satterlee said. Grace Servera, a senior psychology major, agrees that the commons are a nice link between campuses but the layout of the space could be improved.
“The commons are really helpful if you want to go from main campus to Leo but I feel like it’s a little too cramped. There isn’t much privacy,” Servera said. Nadira Shaid, a senior management major, said that she likes the commons but thinks it needs to be a little more secure.
“I can see a lot of people walking in and out of it that don’t belong here,” she said. Shaid is also part of the Muslim Student Association at Manhattan College and expressed interest in specific space for her club. “I see offices in the commons that aren’t for clubs or some of the meeting rooms that don’t even seem like they are taken,” Shaid said.
As Satterlee said, the commons does provide, “significant student ‘hang out’ space” but many students have said the space feels too crowded.
Lenisa Patterson, a senior international studies major, said, “I do like the space, my thing is I think everything is a little bit too cramped. I think they could probably spread it out a little bit more so that we are not all basically on top of one another.” “I wish they would reopen Dante’s because it was a lot of people’s chill spot,” Erica Hernandez, a senior psychology major, said.
As the traffic in the commons becomes more regular and the building becomes more familiar to MC’s campus, students should know that they can propose ideas for the use of now empty spaces.
“The solicitation of ideas for reallocation of space started last year but the committee will take proposals at any time. At this point, persons interested in submitting a space proposal should contact Andy Ryan at x7429 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a form and instructions,” Satterlee said.