Editorial: Scaled-back plans are still welcome

It had been announced that students on both the Lawrenceville and Westminster campuses would soon have a brand new theater in a freshly constructed complex of classroom and studio space. However, because of problems beyond the university’s control, this plan was put on the back burner.

Instead, Rider decided to build a smaller Fine and Performing Arts building next to Memorial Hall. This new building will have 13 classrooms along with 15 faculty and support-staff offices. This is something that the Lawrenceville campus has been in need of: extra classrooms and space for students and staff. But the revised plan for the new building is nowhere near what it originally was. The first proposal had not only the additional classrooms, but was to have production, recording and practice studios for students and a new theater with 250 seats.

Understandably, both staff and students are disappointed that they will not have all of that extra space to work with and hold productions in. But the economic problems that we’ve all been facing have reduced the plans to something more practical.

Fortunately, hope for a new theater is not lost. An extension will be made instead to the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC) Theater. For a fraction of the price of the original building, students can make use of many new features. The addition to the BLC Theater will include space for an orchestra, dressing rooms, a green room, extra storage space and a large elevator for bringing sets to stage. However, the theater’s seating capacity will be decreased from 374 to about 350.

Students, and not just those that are Fine and Performing Arts majors, should be excited about having something new added to the Lawrenceville campus. We will get extra classrooms and a bigger theater in the BLC.

While these two new additions are enough to make anyone excited, they are not exactly what we were originally promised. Of course, the reasons for the changes are out of Rider’s control. In times like these, everyone has to cut corners to save money wherever they can, and some of the things that were proposed to be in the new building were bordering on extravagant. Rider will do better if it holds off on building recording studios that only a small portion of the student population would be able to use anyway. And extra classrooms that are needed by the entire campus should be priority over a brand new theater, as well, especially since this campus has three theaters already.

Construction of both the new academic building and the expansion of the BLC Theater is set to start on June 2 and, if all goes according to plan, will be completed on July 15, 2011. But some work will need to be done before the new features will be ready for students to use. That really won’t matter, though. Most students won’t be back to campus until the weekend before classes start in the fall, anyway. As long as everyone can use the buildings when school is back in session, it won’t be a problem.

In the end, what the school has come up with is a solid compromise between the two most important issues facing us today: what we need, and what we can afford. When it comes down to it, Rider simply cannot afford to get everything that students want, and instead, have to settle with what is needed. Hopefully students can look past what they would have gotten and appreciate what they will get.

This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.

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