New buildings overshadow current ones with repair needs

A rusty and inoperable drinking fountain. Photo by Adam Ponce / el Don

While SAC is focusing on the newly constructed buildings, it seems as though the old ones are slipping into disrepair in the process. Some students have complained about their programs being hosted in outworn, cramped and potentially hazardous buildings.

Concerns of mold, bad smells and other issues are not unreasonable, given that over half of SAC’s main buildings are more than 50 years old. Now is the time to identify any immediate repair needs and begin tackling them in the order of importance.

A $500 million bond measure was proposed in 2020 that would focus on repairs in the existing buildings as well as better accessibility for students with disabilities. Unfortunately, it didn’t pass and we were left with no fixes.

The board of trustees is currently discussing a new bond measure that would pay for SAC’s future plans to replace the outdated buildings on campus and relieve parking issues.

One of SAC’s oldest programs, for example, is still waiting for modernized facilities. The Theatre Department has been providing theatrical training since 1915 and has been using the Phillips Hall Theatre since its construction in 1957. Many other historic programs on campus are in similar positions.

If a new theater can’t be built soon – or the rusty pipes and broken bathrooms fixed – then the focus should be on revitalizing it. Clear any potential health hazards, make necessary repairs and update technologies used by students every day.

The school received an influx of federal and state money during the pandemic and we are being held non-liable for enrollment through 2025.

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Administrators should get creative and find ways to use the money the school already has on critical facilities issues. Students are expected to be patient for new buildings, which is understandable, but we shouldn’t have to wait for repairs to our existing ones.

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