Students may notice that The Underground door leading outside to the Quad is now open at night from 7:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.
The door was previously locked, but is now open as a first step in making The Underground a more desirable location for students, according to junior Student Union Senator Jack Kirwin.
Junior Student Union Senator Pete Hayden, who is working with Kirwin on the project, said, “We opened the doors to The Underground in order to increase the number of people in The Underground. For far too long, The Underground has been empty and has not been used properly.”
Plans to make The Underground more accessible and attractive to students are still in the initial stages, but Kirwin and Hayden have some ideas.
“The second step is to get comfortable furniture in The Underground to make the space more inviting and more of a student hangout area instead of an extension of the dining hall,” said Kirwin.
Kirwin and Hayden would like to see leather sofas and other seating around each of the televisions, rather than desks in the space.
The last phase is possibly knocking out the wall separating The Underground and the Student Barista.
“The thought is that this would connect all of that space so it’s used more by students,” said Associate Dean of Students Donna Byrnes, who has met with Kirwin about the possible project.
Only part of this wall could be torn down because it is partially a load-bearing, and is needed for support. Also, if the wall is torn down the catering office currently located there would need to be relocated.
Kirwin hopes the wall can be taken down.
“Knocking down this wall would create more of a sense of community, and would make the entire space much more inviting,” said Kirwin.
Byrnes said the project is still in the very early stages and they are looking into ideas.
“There are a lot of details that still need to be looked at,” said Byrnes.
Some of the issues that need to be resolved before anything can be done include funding for the project.
Kirwin said they would like to use unallocated and unused funds from the Student Activity Fee.
“We’re optimistic, but not sure [we will get funding from the SAF],” said Kirwin.
Byrnes said they can apply for the funds and SAF funding is a possibility, but there may not always be a large pool of unallocated or unused SAF funds available.
Kirwin said they would like to have plans for the space finished this semester and possibly have changes in place next year, if the project receives funding.
“These improvements would make The Underground one of the best places to hangout and meet new people on the John Carroll campus. If the University is able to fund this project, I would be ecstatic to see our student body benefit from these improvements,” said Kirwin.