Assembly Hall may undergo changes

By Michael Logli

After weeks of rumors and speculation following Athletic Director Ron Guenther’s contract renewal, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Office of Student Affairs discussed potential plans to renovate Assembly Hall Wednesday night at the Illinois Student Senate meeting.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Renee Romano said her office and the DIA will co-manage the building for all future endeavors, which would include a renovation.

The parties drew up an agreement that divides responsibilities between the two groups.

“I think it’s going to be a powerful partnership for students,” Romano said.

More serious consideration of the renovations will occur when Memorial Stadium is completed. The main purpose of the partnership is to alleviate the budget issues that would accompany the renovation.

However, Guenther said the DIA will maintain a separate budget for Assembly Hall within their total budget, and the student fees currently used to fund Assembly Hall will not be intermingled with DIA funds.

“By co-managing it, we could really bring some financial aid to the project,” Guenther said.

Kevin Ullestad, director of Assembly Hall, said he would report to both DIA and Student Affairs and would work with them during the renovation. Ullestad said he plans to make Assembly Hall a year-round forum by adding air-conditioning and added mobility to the upper decks with either elevators or escalators.

The two groups’ next goal is to update the renovation plan and get an estimate while working with the Assembly Hall Advisory Committee, which comprises students, faculty and employees, to gain student support for the renovation.

Guenther also said he would like to work to keep the pressure off student fees, which make up approximately half of Assembly Hall’s funds.

“We need to structure a plan to finance this building,” Guenther said.