Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cole Hall's future

I try and stay away from politics on this blog, but there is a ridiculous hot button topic going on right now and I would just like to say my piece.

As most of you know, there was a press conference a little bit ago by Illinois Governor Blagojevich and NIU President John Peters announcing plans to demolish Cole Hall and build up a new building. The place is supposed to be called Memorial Hall and will cost $40 million to build.

But wait, none of this was approved beforehand? That's right. You can read the numerous articles in the news feed or with a Google search.

The NIU Board of Trustees never met about this topic. The money was never approved beforehand by anybody, and there may not be enough funds for the new building. Even Chicago Mayor Daley's opinion is that you can't tear down every building that somebody has been killed in, to avoid a terrible precedent. What he doesn't realize is that this isn't just some run-of-the mill place and we provide so many opportunities to young people that come here from the Chicago area.

Barsema Hall, NIU's Business college was built with a $23 million donation by NIU Alum Dennis Barsema. I have to wonder what Blago and John Peters were thinking before this announcement. In my opinion, Blagojevich is just trying to sound like a hero and it completely blew up in his face. $40 mil to build a state-of-the-art study building? You have to put some classes in there too. Isn't the price a little too steep? Who thought this out?

What disappoints me the most, is that most people talking about either keeping Cole Hall or getting rid of it have never taken class there or had to use it for a test or something. It is the place on campus where the most people can fit in to the same place and take tests.

I've been going to school here for 3 years and Cole Hall is the most disgusting building on this campus I have ever been in. First of all, you feel like you are in a jail when you sit down in those uncomfortable desks they have in there which are entirely too close together. The classrooms themselves are the opposite of aesthetic, with terribly unappealing colors and everything in that building being terribly out of date. It's always freezing in that building or way too hot, just adding to how bad it is.

Now you have to add in that there has been a shooting there and the school wants to get rid of the building, or do they. Who is "the school" in this context? This all sounds like a grand idea the day it was announced, and everybody I talked to was really excited about it. I just can't see enough of good reason to tear that horrible building down. The college of business in Barsema Hall is a marvel of an academic building. More majors at Northern Illinois really need to experience a great learning facility like Barsema Hall. Most of the general education and communications classes take place in run-down buildings like Dusable.

We need more lecture halls on campus, with better security. We need more computer labs with faster printers.

We need more places to study, with lobbies and computer labs always crowded.

I'm sick of waiting in a line for 10 minutes just to print out one piece of paper that I need for my next class.

Just the fact and thought that anybody would want to keep this monstrosity of a building puzzles me on end. Now John Peters is backtracking saying he now wants the opinions of students and faculty on this topic. I just feel this is a great opportunity to make the center of our campus look not just better aesthetically, but give us another place to study and think positively about the future of this University. Keeping Cole Hall isn't going to solve anything in my opinion. It felt like a jail sitting in there before, and now it will feel like a cemetery. I just want Peters and the University to give something great back to the students in terms of a great facility and now he has the chance to do it.

Please, if anybody is reading this: Get rid of Cole Hall. It was a piece of junk before the shootings, and should have been replaced years ago. If this place doesn't get completely re-done or even a face-lift, students like myself will refuse to take class there. I would seriously even think about taking a gun in to Cole Hall just to protect myself, even though that's completely illegal. I wouldn't even be able to learn, because I would be so nervous in that building looking around non-stop for anything suspicious.

Please help me out and e-mail with your opinion.

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