Due to safety concerns and financial constraints, the Student Center has been planning to replace the hardwood floors of the GT Ballroom with new carpet.
Some organizations have objected in response to the sudden proposed changes being made to one of the most widely used spaces on the campus.
“It was time to replace it, in essence,” said Dr. Kim Harrington, Directory of the Student Center, “The goal all along was hardwood to hardwood, so the decision was actually made by finances…The cost to put carpet on the floor was less than half the cost of the hardwood solution.”
Sections of the hardwood floor have been warping and receiving small ruts that could pose potential dangers for people who are using the floor. Minor repairs have been made to floors in the past, but currently, the floor needs to be replaced.
“There’s about four to five hundred events held in the Ballroom, and what we had to do was look at all of those events,” Harrington said. “There’s lectures, comedians, fashion shows, dances, ceremonies…We had to look at all of those events to meet their needs and still keep a safe environment.”
To gain support for a new hardwood floor, the GT Dance Association (GTDA) has created an online petition for the Dean of Students. In addition, many GTDA members have contributed to the discussion of the Ballroom’s future.
“The student body was never informed in due process of the construction and students would have returned in the fall semester to a ballroom filled with carpet and no hardwood floors. This issue greatly concerned us,” said Emily Keen, GTDA President. “So we decided to create an online petition to let Georgia Tech students and alumni make their voices known.”
SGA has expressed concern for the Ballroom floor as well, and with the GTDA, Nicholas Picon, SGA President, negotiated a delay of the carpet installment in order to reach better accommodations for the student body.
“SGA is planning on bringing together leaders of all the affected organizations to meet with our administrators to provide an organized opportunity for them to voice their concerns and ideas on the project,” Picon said.
One accommodation that is planned so far includes the past location of the Buzzcard Center in the Student Center which will receive hardwood floors according to Harrington who explained that the Student Center was a strong proponent of this space being made for student use.
While the GTDA and SGA are aware of the accommodations that can been provided, they wished to postpone the carpeting of the ballroom until a new solution could be found.
“The 1500 square foot offer will greatly decrease the visibility of our club and not allow any of the other student organizations previously mentioned to have their events because it is simply too small of a space. “, Keen said. “Additionally, we’ve researched mobile dance floors, and they are not easy things to install.”
Currently, the Student Center has delayed the carpeting of the Ballroom, and further discussion is planned for its future.