Editorial: CWRU’s new alumni center not best use of space


Clarissa Cuevas/Observer

The Alumni House is located on Juniper road. It is expected to expand and form a complex with the planned Linsalata Alumni Center

Undergraduate students come to Case Western Reserve University to receive an exceptional and thorough education. Outside the classroom, these students hope for well-funded extracurricular activities, unique job opportunities and experiences in the field they hope to one day be a part of.

What they do not necessarily hope for, is to the opportunity to one day come back and visit an oversized, two-building alumni conglomerate.

The Observer staff does not condone recent university efforts to build the Linsalata Alumni Center at its present planned location in the place of the now old police station.

We understand that Frank and Jocelyne Linsalata made that $4 million pledge specifically for the purpose of an alumni center. It is exciting to see that alumnus Frank Linsalata is still passionate about CWRU 52 years later.

However the location of the now old police station is prime campus real estate and should be used as such. The old police station is situated in a location perfect to provide an additional, much needed structure for students in the lacking North Residential Village (NRV).

Linsalata has already made a pledge and there is nothing wrong with honoring his hope for increased alumni support, but only in a different, smarter method. The Alumni House currently has a patio with a temporary tent and a small parking lot. Both examples exhibit an inappropriate use of space. The small parking lot bears no use given the driveway, valet service provided at events and the fact that the large Denny’s parking lot sits nearby. Instead of tearing down the old police station, a two-story expansion of the house backward and into the parking lot can be made.

The new alumni floor space needs to be more compact and envelope the house instead. Given the ample cushion of $4 million, this could easily be done without compromising the architectural integrity of the current Alumni House.

This doesn’t mean that the Alumni House will be able to accommodate larger events, but the very thought that the house should be hosting such events is a misunderstanding of the situation. The current plan proposes to use on-campus space from current students to build larger alumni event spaces. But it’s students who need it the most now. The campus has ample spaces for large events across campus, most notably the Tinkham Veale Student Center ballroom, that alumni can make use of without further expenditure.

The old police station should not be torn down; to tear down the old police station is disproportionate building policy. As a campus, we should strive to renovate before tearing down traditional homes. The beautiful house was built in 1920.

Instead of using the space for a new alumni center, the building and generous parking lot can be converted as a study space, an athletic area with a new court or even a new place for larger student extracurricular activities.

The staff highly recommends an even more clear-cut solution; give the location to a Greek-life chapter that lacks a house. Greek Life already has a waitlist of several fraternities and sororities which patiently wait for a house to open up. The old police station could easily be used to help one of these groups have a home on campus.

The dilemma facing our campus community is rigid right now because of the project’s plan; a choice must be made to benefit either students or alumni. However, we must remember that alumni were once students, as students will one day be alumni. We are connected and should attempt to accommodate one another. Just as the Alumni House’s policy does allow for events that could involve students, Tinkham Veale University Center can be used by alumni.

Time is short. The demolition of the old police station begins after homecoming this October. It is the staff’s hope that the university finds a compromise that benefits the totality of our campus community.