Senate addresses natatorium, campus safety


Students voiced their concerns Wednesday evening as the Student Government Association held its monthly Senate meeting in the theater of the Favrot Student Union.

The meeting covered issues that some students seem to be in the dark about, including progress of the natatorium and safety issues regarding university police. 

Associate Vice President of Finance Ante Britten attended the meeting to inform students about the developments regarding the natatorium and answer any questions.

Britten also shared with students the different finance options that are being considered. 

Britten said a “ballpark number of $215,000” has been collected over the three semesters since the approval of student fees for renovating the natatorium.

The issue at hand seemed to be that when the student body agreed on the pool renovation they were under the impression that construction would begin immediately. 

But students and Senate members were shocked to find out that the closed natatorium that stands behind Favrot Student Union had been condemned and renovations could not be done.

Britten said the Finance Department is working with a financial adviser and bond attorney to ensure competitiveness of interest rates while trying to keep the student fee at $25. 

He explained that plans for the natatorium will be completed in stages, pending verification approval and continued financial support from the student body and alumni. 

Plans to demolish the existing natatorium and build a pool as part of an expanded Intramural Center have begun, according to Britten. He said putting the pool there would make it more accessible for the student body and alumni at an additional fee.

“Even though the project is at a standstill, we are moving forward, take diligence and understand that they are investing in the university,” said Britten

Aaron Silas, Senior Class senator from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., had concerns about natatorium renovation revenue versus spending on academics. 

“We have taken our time to construct ideas about the pool and Intramural [Center] but have not yet centered our focus on our education,” Silas said.

Britten also said that once a substantial amount of funds have been allocated the bid would be sent out to architects and the projected date about “four to five years from start to finish.” The project is expected to cost about $6 million.

After questions were answered, attention shifted to the university’s new Chief of Police Michael Storr and issues regarding campus safety. 

One of the questions brought forth was the tint that had been put on the dispatch windows and doors inside the university police station. 

“This was done for personal reasons and safety elements regarding the staff,” said Storr.

Justin White, a senior from Merriville, Ind., thought progress had been made at the Senate meeting. 

“It is good knowing that eventually Grambling will be able to finally start construction on a new intramural and pool for the students,” White said. “Also with how the new chief of police wants a good relationship with the students,” something that has been a concern with students in the past.

A meeting between the SGA and GSUPD has been proposed at a later date so that further questions regarding safety can be answered. 

Also discussed was organizational funding, where Brittney Smith, president of the Floyd L. Sandle Players Theatre Guild, presented her platform and was granted $1,000 that will allow the continuation of building sets and purchasing equipment to aid in play productions.  

“This means everything,” said Smith. “We’ve worked so hard. She said without the  “pain of wood splinters,” it would not be possible to present plays.

Also approved for funding was the Grambling Sports Radio Network, which asked for $738 but through support was approved for $1,000 dollars instead. 

Demi Spencer, SGA vice president, presided over the meeting, along with Robin Cole, SGA secretary.