Student groups affected by College Center closing

Multiple student groups and organized events have been relocated from the College Center to other buildings as a result of the ongoing renovations. Due to the closing of the Wilson Center, many groups have been trying to find accommodations that meet their needs.
The College Center was used for over 40 group meetings, where all of the rooms were being occupied, mostly from Greek chapters, but also groups such as Student Government Association, Multicultural Club Council, Camp Kesem, Augie Choir, CORE, and many others.
“We’re very busy trying to find rooms for groups that used the rooms, especially the Wilson Center, and we’ve gotten through moving most of them…but we still got more to go through,” said Jolene Harper, conference, events and scheduling supervisor.
The closing of the Wilson Center was unexpected, said Harper, as groups reserved the space prior to the notice that was given, with dinners still needing to be relocated.
The initial plan was to keep the Wilson Center open, so that groups and meetings can still have some place to meet, but the fire marshals and the city of Rock Island had the building closed for safety purposes, according to Kent Barnds, vice president of enrollment, communication and planning.
“I hope I can find spaces for our groups, so that they can keep the same times…I’m going to try to see what I can find,” said Harper.
Barnds understands the challenges centered with the renovations, especially with the spaces needed for potential new members seen with the Greek chapters in the spring term.
Augustana has 14 local chapters, with seven sororities and seven fraternities utilizing much of the College Center for their weekly meetings, and events in the spring term, with the beginnings of the rush process.
“The College center is primarily used by Greek groups,” said David Sommers, president of the Student Government Association.
Sommers said that the cabinet met a few weeks ago to go over new places to be used as space, and that renovations to the third and second floors of Denkmann will be taking place, in the forms of getting new furniture and clearing out old offices.
All of this should be done by the start of spring term, said Sommers. The date that Sommers was given for when the renovations would be done would be done by the time that we come back for fall term.
“At first it was inconvenient, but they gave us enough of a heads up to get a new place,” said Megan Meyer, president of the Zeta Phi Kappa sorority.
Meyer used the College Center’s Dahl Room for the sorority’s Executive Board meetings but moved into a classroom in Olin for the time being. Meyer said it was a different dynamic than what she was used to but understands the necessity of the renovations.
“We are working to directly see which groups are affected by this and accommodate them,” said Sommers. “As the very last back-up option, we have informed Olin and the basement of Founders, to be available for larger student groups.”