The Rankin Center may be facing some drastic changes in the coming years.
A plan to renovate and upgrade the building is in the process of being created that will cater more to the wants and needs of Ferris students.
According to Vice President of Student Affairs Daniel Burcham, the vision for the new University Center is being affected and created by many different opinions.
“Representatives are talking to specialized groups asking questions and really collecting data to see the kind of building that we should build. We want to make sure that we are creating a building that students will be using as well as the community. Also, we want one that will serve as a center for the university,” said Burcham.
Although nothing is set in place quite yet, many students are voicing their opinions about what they think should be included in the new University Center.
David Miller, senior in the facility management program, believes the Rankin Center would be greatly improved if it provided more opportunities to students.
“I would like to see more activities for students to do and places for people to hang out. It would be so much better if there was something for people to do that is actually on campus,” said Miller.
As a commuter from the Grand Rapids area, he also felt it would be beneficial to add a place for commuters to be able to relax.
“I purposely schedule all of my classes back to back so I don’t stay on campus longer than I have to. Sure, there are lounges in the Business Building and IRC, but if you are not part of the College of Business, you just have a feeling like you shouldn’t be there,” said Miller.
He added, “It would be nice to have a place that the people who are commuting could go and just relax in-between classes; especially a place that people actually want to be at.”
Miller wasn’t alone in his opinion. Nathan Chamberlain, sophomore in the recreation and sports management program, agreed that activities are a major part of how much time he spends in the Rankin Center.
“I would like to see something like a mini-golf course, or a bowling alley like there was before,” said Chamberlain. “I mean, even if they did something fun like a laser tag course, I think it would get people there and it would get people to have fun. There’s really nothing for students to do on campus, and I think additional things like that could really make a big difference.”
Although the want for leisure student activities to be placed in the Rankin Center is high, senior Joshua Vrona, pre-nursing major, is looking more into the academic side of the issue.
“I think it would be great if they built more study rooms. The open space provided at the Rankin currently can often be loud and distracting with the traffic flow of people,” said Vrona. “I would like to see individual study rooms for people to utilize, like the ones the library offers.”
According to Burcham, the Rankin Center is one of the last buildings of a major student function on campus that has not been refurbished in some way; much of the building remains the way it was when built in 1958.
There were some additions such as a bowling alley and study lounges, which have since been removed. The last major renovation was in the mid-1980s. The Rankin Center was closed down for the summer in 1987 for renovations. Since then, only repairs and office changes have been made.
In the early 2000s, the Rankin Center had 24-hour access during exam week only until FLITE opened in 2001. Students were encouraged to go there instead, said Mary Gallagher-Eustice, library associate in the FLITE Archives & Special Collections department.
“There are a lot of beautiful things in that building, but in many ways, we have outgrown it. We are a much larger university than when that was built. Students are also much more interested in technology and I think they want more places where they can see and be seen,” said Burcham.
Burcham also said students want more public places where there is a community feel.
According to Burcham, President Eisler has suggested a presentation of the visioning surveys and a report by consultants will happen around the end of October.