The weekly SGA meeting began with presentations from Aramark general manager Jim Nabors and director of campus recreation Richard Hammond, who both served as representatives for campus projects that are proposed to be finished by the fall semester.
Nabors previously announced the new dining hours — Starbucks closing at midnight and the cafeteria closing at 11 p.m. — and also said renovations would take place on the south side of the cafeteria. The renovations will implement different seating options, like barstools and sofas, to create more of a study lounge atmosphere for the late night hours. The seating in the pit area will be diminished from 80 to about 50.
Full service dining will last until 7 p.m. The existing grill and salad bar will be open from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and after 9 p.m., some dining will shift to the south end of the cafeteria to offer omelettes, deli options, produce and the salad bar.
Hammond also told SGA about another change coming to campus over the summer — a multi-level rope course with high- and
low-level obstacles and challenges. It will be constructed near the beach volleyball courts. Construction is set to begin in June and the project is predicted to be completed by the start of the fall semester, weather permitting.
Because of the predicted popularity as a team building activity, Hammond described three tiers of pricing — a bare minimum fee for students, a median cost for nonprofit organizations and schools, and a higher corporate price for businesses who may use the facilities.
Afterward, nontraditional student and mother, senator Audrey Scaife, and junior class representative senator Jalen Graham talked about their efforts toward bringing childcare to campus — an initiative that SGA has previously fought for and that faculty and students have supported.
UCA already has the Child Study Center, but it is a public center, and only serves children ages 3 to 5 and has over 250 children on its
2019-2020 waiting list, according to the Child Care Center Initiative, which passed later in the meeting. The current Child Study Center’s prices vary depending on the child’s age, days attended, and payment plan options, but it can run as high as $2,720 annually.
“The concept of having a free daycare is close to impossible, but at least having a lower rate for students is definitely possible because there are a ton of nonprofit organizations who have childcare who have lower rates,” Scaife said.
The childcare center in discussion may be an extension of this service or an entirely new center in another building on campus. This lack of space is one reason little progress has been made in bringing this program to campus. However, with new facilities coming to campus, the Snow Fine Arts building will soon be vacant, reviving conversations about the childcare program.
Other ideas include making the program a possible work-study for education majors to help them get their hours and provide experience.
In the last meeting, Kappa Sigma Psi fraternity approached SGA after missing the SAFA deadline for submitting their budget and asked for $2,350 for events both mandatory and voluntary. In this week’s meeting, a resolution was proposed that would allocate $1,675 but after over an hour of debate and adjustments, a resolution was passed that allocated $1,330 to the fraternity, which is enough to cover its mandatory events.
In other business, SGA passed a resolution establishing a Kelley L. Erstine Engagement Award to recognize his service as chief of staff and vice president. Erstine will resign from UCA in August to accept a position as CEO of Independent Insurers of Arkansas.