Several Houston Hall merchants said last week they have not decided whether they will relocate operations to the proposed campus center, to be built at 36th and Walnut streets. The University has not guaranteed them space in the facility, and the merchants said they are concerned they will not be offered the opportunity. Architects have just begun to develop a "master plan" of the area from 34th to 38th streets between Walnut and Chestnut streets where the campus center and related facilities will be located. Administrators said they hope to submit a formal plan for the area to the University Trustees later this semester. Student Life Facilities Associate Director Thomas Hauber, who oversees Houston Hall facilities, said last week that he anticipates that decisions on what will be located in the center will be made once the formal plan is completed. "It's premature to say that everything would be relocated," Hauber said. "There are a lot of unanswered questions." He added that once the plan is formed, merchants and campus center officials will discuss possible relocation at length. Hauber also said Houston Hall's future role on campus also depends on this plan, saying he would like to see the nearly century-old student union remain student oriented once the campus center is constructed. "I don't know that it needs to remain a student service center," Hauber said. "It all depends on what is going to be in the new student center . . . I would hope that it would be a student-focused building, with the Admissions Office for example, as opposed to administrative services." He also said he expects the building to remain a vital part of campus life, pointing to its "rich and vibrant history." But Hauber said the 5500 to 8000 people entering and exiting Houston Hall everyday points to the need for the new campus center. "This one's busting out of its seams," he said. Hauber estimated that about half the merchants want to relocate to the center. Merchants said last week that there has only been informal discussion about relocating to the new center, adding that they are not sure whether they want to make the move. Kelly Lee, who works at The Movie Ticket video rental store, said last week that she has heard discussion about the campus center amid Houston Hall merchants, but does not know what it will mean for the businesses. "I know everyone here is a little nervous because the University hasn't guaranteed anyone space," she said. "Everyone wants to be there but no one knows what's going to happen." Discovery Discs Manager Mitch Grasso said last week that he did not know whether the owners wanted to relocate to the center, but added that the store needs more space. Skolnik's Bagel Deli Assistant Manager Darien Robinson said last week that the restaurant hopes to add another franchise, rather than relocate operations. Other merchants said they have not given the matter much thought, but stressed that before they move they would need proof that the campus center will be a better location for operations. Muffins 'N' More Manager Don McKee said last week that he is still considering whether he wants to move to the campus center. "It's two or three years down the road," he said. "They've been talking about it for so long that I'm beginning to wonder if it's really going to come true." Little Caesar's Pizza Station Assistant Manager Robert Wiggins said last week that he personally did not want to relocate, adding that he is happy with the restaurant's location and its business in Houston Hall.Comments powered by Disqus
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