UAF considers Bookstore-ASUAF swap

Megan Bennett / Sun Star

A student stands in line at the bookstore. Currently, the bookstore is located on the second floor of Constitution Hall, but that may be changing in the next few months. - Megan Bennett / Sun Star

A student stands in line at the bookstore. Currently, the bookstore is located on the second floor of Constitution Hall, but that may be changing in the next few months. – Megan Bennett / Sun Star

In hopes of centralizing student groups in one location, discussion about relocating the ASUAF office to the second floor of Constitution Hall is underway.

According to Pamm Hubbard, overseer of the bookstore contract, the idea of relocating the ASUAF office is still in its early stages of consideration so are no specific timeline on when this will occur. Hubbard said that one proposal is to switch the location of the bookstore and ASUAF office. Though it is not final, the idea has not been completely denied.

If the proposal were to pass, the ASUAF office will be taking the place of the bookstore.

For student government, this would be an ideal move according Colby Freel, ASUAF vice president.

“We will be nearly doubling our office space so we can hire more student employees,” Freel said. “[It will be] more efficient to move, so we can be in proximity and work close to other student organizations.”

Some of these student groups on campus that are already housed in Constitution Hall and work with ASUAF are the UAF Alumni Office, KSUA radio station and the Sun Star.

The main disadvantages for student government are that the office would be in a less convenient location for students. The new location would be less accessible to students with disabilities, since Constitution Hall does not have an elevator and the stair lift has been problematic.

Vice Chancellor Mike Sfraga states that an ideal end goal is to make Constitution Hall a student programs building. Sfraga said the Wood Center is a wonderful place, but holds too many student programs.

The proposal for the bookstore includes changes in locations and layout.

“An idea for the bookstore is to move it to the Wood Center and combine it with a convenience store,” Sfraga said. “A new expanded bookstore and convenience store would be great for faculty and staff.”

If the bookstore moves to the current ASUAF office location, it will need more space to expand. Whether this will have an effect on the games area and bowling alley remains unknown. Overseers in the planning process do not know too many details because the move of the ASUAF office has yet to be approved.

The idea of making the Wood Center more commercialized and student groups more unified has stirred mixed feelings among students and staff member.

Mae Byrd, a junior studying Japanese, said adding too many places to purchase things in one area like the Wood Center would overcrowd the area.

“It’s sad that the student union center is becoming a retail center,” Jeri Maxwell, associate director of Woods Center, said.

Doug Keller, sophomore in Mechanical Engineering, said that the move would be good. According to Keller, it would create a central place to purchase items on campus and for student groups to meet on campus.

“[The bookstore] does seem out of place,” Keller said. “Since Constitution Hall seems more like an office space.”

If the day were to come where the bookstore and ASUAF student government office switch location, there is still a lot of planning and finalization that needs to get done.

“It’s a long road to go down,” Sfraga said.

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