Mixed feelings about the renovations in the Back Alley

Not-Extreme Makeover: Back Alley Edition

JOSHUA BARROWS

jdbarrows15@ole.augie.edu

The Back Alley, a bastion of vintage unkemptness, has recently undergone renovations to update it to the present.

Most noticeably, a fresh paint job updated the hang-out space to a color scheme which includes navy, gold, and a brick red akin to the Siverson Lounge. The long-standing graffiti is no more.

Jeff Venekamp, senior associate director of Campus Life, said that the renovations also included replacement of some furniture as well as the addition of a Dr. Who-themed device-charging station for student use.

Venekamp said that a group of students and staff convened to contemplate the changes. They deemed that “painting was a necessity.”

Tom Meyer, vice president for Finance and Administration, said that some sheet rock work was required along with the painting.

Meyer explained that the space is more widely used for a variety of events including “meetings with prospective students [and general] luncheons [for] all kinds of different events” rather than simply student-led events.

He added that because “the prior look may have worked for some events, but not all events, this renovation was to make it have a more all-purpose look.”

Venekamp said he has heard some negative feedback from students based solely on the idea of lost nostalgia, but, overall, has not received many comments.

grace-fjellangerMembers of the student body have mixed feelings about the renovation. Some—like sophomore Grace Fjellanger—felt “greatly saddened,” while others, including junior Hannah Norem, are glad that the renovations took place.

Fjellanger said she understands that the changes are keeping up with the rest of the new additions around campus but thought that the back alley was a unique part of campus that now feels more mainstream, or, as she put it, “very drab.”

Norem felt the changes will positively impact campus. She said the old look could be perceived as embarrassing.

“It was really kind of embarrassing to take people back there and say ‘hey look, this is where we hang out and have events’ while the paint is kind of peeling and the walls are a little disgusting,” she said.

Norem, a member of the Union Board of Governors, added that the space is now suitable for a wider array of events. Further, she thinks that “students will be more apt to use it for small, informal meetings now that the paint is more professional.”

As far as paint goes, barring extreme student dissent, Meyer said he believes there are no more changes to be made.

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