Flames of The Torch

Every financial investment that St. John’s makes is met with, like most decisions, praise and blame. But by renovating several facilities, including the University Center, the Little Theatre, and Marillac Hall, the administration is making an investment that the entire student body can and should rally around.

After years of complaints, boarded windows, and puke-green linolium tiles, organizations ranging from The Torch, to Haraya, to Greek Life will have a refurbished home in the not-so-distant future, according to James Pellow, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of St. John’s.

“The plan right now is to spend several million dollars on this building and return the building to the students,” Pellow said.

With the resfurbishing or rebuilding of these facilities, finances will be called into questions, and fiscal decisions will play the biggest role in the process.

“The question is, do we spend $5 or $10 million to redo it (the UC) and dress it up or should we spend $30 to $50 million on a brand new building?” Pellow said. “There are lots of things that are needed, but how much and in what order? We’re not Harvard. We don’t have $20 billion in the bank, so there’s a financial question.”

With these tentative plans, in addition to the newly constructed Taffner Field House, the University seems set on improving the look and practicality of its facilities in a hurry. Perhaps the most impressive investment, however, is, as Pellow describes, their “Science Master Plan.”

As Pellow explained, the University is planning on investing $20 million in science labaratories in St. Albert Hall. The capital spent on this project would provide teaching and research labs, an investement aimed at the University’s Pharmacy and natural science programs.

It is this kind of academic investment that the University needs, the kind that students have called for for quite a while.

“The $20 million investment in science labs and research facility is a substantial positive move for improving the level of academia at St. John’s,” said John Buddenhagen, a junior Biology major and Student Affairs Committee Co-chair for SGI, Inc.

“In addition to the greater level of instruction… the faculty will also have a legitimate collegiate facility to perform profound research,” Buddenhagen said. “Of all the improvements and investment I’ve seen at St. John’s over the last three years, this will be the one that will enhance the value of the St. John’s degree the most.”

In a University where athletic investments often outshine academic ones, it is refreshing and promising to see the school attempt at improving our science departments.

With the refurbishing of Marillac Hall, the UC, the Little Theatre, and the “Science Master Plan,” St. John’s will take a large and necessary step in the cultural and academic development of our university.