When you think about Ole Miss, you think about the Lyceum or Ventress Hall which have been staples of this University for over a century. Your mind probably doesn’t immediately jump to new structures like the Pavillion. The majority of non-residential buildings on campus were built in the 19th and 20th centuries and while some of them have been renovated, plenty have not.
Instead of renovating existing structures, the university has been fixated on building more and more structures around campus. Just this past month, the university opened the South Campus Recreation Center by the Whirlpool Trail and the new Student Union. The former cost $32 million while the later cost $62 million.
Neither of those structures were necessary. We already have the Turner Center, and while it is out of date, it could have been renovated and expanded. With the renovation of the Student Union, the university has further increased the disparities between campus structures by not giving enough attention to buildings that really need it. As a student, I spend at most six hours a week working out compared to at least thirty hours a week studying and twenty-three hours in all of my classes and labs.
Through my eyes, these new establishments were built as a way to “flex” (as us youths say) on neighboring institutions and to impress alumni and donors. While I understand that the donors should be satisfied, as a student pursuing an education here, I feel neglected and my college experience has not been enhanced by these so called “improvements.”
As a biology major, I have spent the vast majority of my undergraduate career in Shoemaker. While I truly do love that hall, it smells like my elementary school’s bathroom. The porcelain-esque tile is exhausted and the wood doors have seen better days. It is evident that certain parts have had somewhat of a makeover, but it’s a long shot from a full overhaul.
The classrooms on the first floor of Bishop have inadequate and outdated projectors along with dirty, ragged carpet. A few semesters ago, in my German class, the ceiling tiles in Bishop 104 collapsed and water came gushing out. I had flashbacks of being at a water park as a child.
The classrooms in Hume look like the one-room schoolhouse that my grandma went to in the 1930s. They are cold and barren with chalkboards in classrooms. Chalkboards. If the university can shell out almost $100 million for new structures, they can certainly make these comparatively small renovations.
The university must not forget that the students’ tuition bankrolls the majority of the university’s endeavors, and I think that it is only fair that we students get a say in where our money goes. It will not only enhance our experience but will improve the university’s reputation as being dedicated to the student body and preserve the campus for future generations. The university has done a fantastic job preserving the Grove and Lyceum, so why not continue to preserve other fundamental structures around campus?
Helen Claire McNulty is a junior biology major from Holland, Michigan and West Palm Beach, Florida.