Board of Governors vote for Coffman 2nd floor redesign

With approval from Vice Provost Jerry Rinehart, the remodeling would begin in summer 2012.

Board of Governors vote for Coffman 2nd floor redesign

Raya Zimmerman

After a final vote by the Board of Governors on Thursday, architects and designers will establish a floor plan this summer of Coffman UnionâÄôs second floor to remodel and build more rooms for student groups.

The plan to remodel is in response to rising concerns by members of cultural centers and student groups who fear losing their space on second floor would result in a loss of community altogether at the University of Minnesota.

Starting in May, a second floor advisory committee will be formed comprising of members of student groups who hold a space on second floor and those who do not, as well as Board members. The Committee, which will be advised by the Office of Equity and Diversity and the Student Unions and Activities, will help decide how the space will be allocated among groups once the designers have established the floor plans by the fall.

Designers will take into account cost estimates for remodeling, as well as code issues and assignable square footage.

The Board has set aside money in advance from the Student Union and ActivityâÄôs budget for reconfiguration.

A freeze was put on the application process during this school year for student groups to request space, and will remain in place until after construction is finished.

At the open forum on April 12, Board President Joel Livingood said the Board will take into consideration special features of rooms, such as the American Indian Student Cultural Center‘s unique ventilation system for burning sage and their sound-proof office for drumming and ceremonies.

The advisory committee will make a final recommendation to the Board in December, and remodeling would begin in the summer of 2012.

Concerns were raised over the perceived hastiness, with the proposal now passing to Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart for approval.

Livingood responded that the administration had asked for a November deadline, and the Board had already pushed the decision to April.

Despite objections to the proposal by two board members, Livingood said the end product will be “beneficial to the U.”

Livingood anticipated a response from Rinehart within the next week.