The Commons in North Complex used to house the main dining hall on campus. Now, it is a mostly-empty space, with the Beede Bump Convenience Store in one corner.
The University of South Dakota has hired a consultant from JBA Inc. to figure out how to best utilize this large space, said Roberta Ambur, USD vice president of Administration and Technology.
“We started conversations with JBA Inc. in Sept. 2012,” Ambur said. “We initially brought the company on board to evaluate our buildings, programs and space needs, along with identifying space planning parameters for future growth and providing support for the Strategic Master Plan of the campus. Through this process, we have included more detailed evaluations of particular departments and programs. The last area we are looking at is the North Complex Commons.”
USD will pay JBA Inc. $54,000 to analyze what to do with the space, Ambur said.
With the Beede Bump scheduled to move back to its old space next to the new Papa John’s franchise by August, the University has nothing planned for the Commons area for the 2015-16 school year.
The space next to the Beede-Mickelson entrance is being renovated, with the installation of a Papa John’s as well as a modernization of the Beede Bump space, Residence Hall Director Trevor Gillespie said.
“Last year, they started moving the Bump from the entrance to Beede-Mick because they were going to start renovation, putting in Papa John’s and upgrading the Bump space to make it more modern or more accommodating to the current generation of students,” he said.
First-year Tyler Wilson wants to see the Commons space utilized in some way.
“I think they should renovate it. You can’t really tear it down, but you probably should make something out of it. Maybe make it an entertainment section, maybe make it a better lounge, split it up, make it more dorms,” Wilson said. “There’s a lot of room in there, and it’s not going to be used for anything.”
Wilson also sees merit to using the area as a study space.
“It has a lot of open space, it could be divided up into sections. You could have group study or just cubicles for individual study like we had in high school,” Wilson said. “The library’s so far away. I know during the winter months, people would much rather go downstairs into that little area instead of walking all the way over to the library.”
First-year Ryan Tate wants to see the space utilized for entertainment purposes.
“You could do a theater, or two, because they have enough room,” Tate said.
First-year Morgan Halibur would like to see North Complex parallel Coyote Village and utilize the space for a movie theater.
Senior Brent Olinger, a community adviser in North Complex, would like to see the area utilized as a hang out space.
“It might be nice if it’s more student space to hang out. If they had couches and stuff, and maybe another TV for people to chill and hang out in a bigger space together,” Olinger said. “I think sometimes our lounges downstairs get a little crowded, and people want more of a place to gather than just necessarily on their floor.”
(Photo: The Beede Bump will be moving back near the Beede/Mickelson Hall entrance next year, leaving the Commons space completely empty. USD is paying JBA Inc. $54,000 to find a use for the space. Miranda Letcher / The Volante)