Last week, Welltower Inc. donated the largest gift the university has ever received, estimated at $30 million. The donation encompasses state-of-the-art office buildings as well as 100 acres of land.
Because it has been less than a week since the donation was announced, UT is still unsure how best to utilize the land. As a student group, we took it upon ourselves to outline a few different ideas about how we can best use the space.
Commuter students are a majority of the student population at the University of Toledo, yet all of them are served by one small office in the Student Union. That, coupled with the fact that parking has only gotten worse this year, is why we believe that the entire land donation from Welltower should be converted into a commuter lounge and parking area. This will be a place where students can come park easily and relax, then jump on a bus to go to Main Campus.
2. Student organizations
Right now, the situation for student organizations at UT is not ideal. Each year, groups on campus battle to earn and keep office space in the SU. For this reason, we propose giving all the state-of-the-art office space over to the student groups. If we as various student groups can accomplish so much with the space and resources we have now, imagine how much we could do if we had the freedom Welltower would offer.
3. The Communication department
Right now, UT communication is currently housed in Sullivan Hall, Rocket Hall, Student Union and, if you count The Independent Collegian, Carlson Library. This kind of setup makes it extremely hard for all of us to work together and utilize our resources. We believe using the whole Welltower building as a communication department can utilize the high-tech office space to help train students.
4. Baseball fields
Currently, as part of the UT master plan, the baseball fields on Scott Park Campus are scheduled to be moved to Main Campus and will reside where Carter Hall currently sits. This plan was concocted when Carter Hall housed no students. But with Parks Tower not housing anyone and a continued rise in enrollment, Carter Hall is being used as a dorm again this year. We propose moving the baseball fields to this new area, instead of knocking down Carter. It just seems easier on everyone.
5. Rolling black top
Not to beat a dead horse, but parking is a problem at UT. It has been a problem for years and will probably be a problem for years to come. One easy way to fix this would be to simply create a giant parking lot around the Welltower building, gate this parking lot off, with the exception of a parking pass that would be half price of one for Main Campus, and offer busing; the amount of parking needed on Main Campus could be drastically reduced.
5. Dorm rooms
To go back to Carter Hall, it wasn’t closed without a reason. Carter experienced massive flooding issues due to a storm, although it is still being lived in. This, on top of the fact that we had to close the freshman dorm on campus, Parks Tower, for renovations leads to housing on UT campus being a top priority. If we turned the whole Welltower campus into housing, then we could increase the amount of student housing and still knock down Carter Hall, making room for the baseball fields.
Doing these things is impossible, and even doing just one is improbable. Though we may be joking, each group identified in this list does have real issues that the university needs to address. We need to keep these people in mind when we decide what to do with this gracious gift. It is imperative to helping UT grow as a school and treat all of its members equally.