Kirby lounge coming ‘soon’: Renovations seem only for future students

Coming to school every morning and seeing large trucks and bright orange signs are a clear hint that UMD grounds are still under construction. Yes, traffic has been undeniably annoying when trying to get in and out of school because of the road blockage, and the smell of tar leaking into classrooms from the engineering building is also not the most pleasant thing ever, but we should at least expect that the noise should be coming from the outside, not the inside. The current renovation being done in the new Kirby lounge was assured to be completed by the time fall semester rolled in, but due to unknown circumstances, it seems like it’ll take longer than just a few more days before its big debut. Its last update was in 1983 when the space was designed to meet the needs of students 30 years ago.

Today, the new goal is to modernize the lounge and turn it into a place where everyone can relax, and be able to socialize and study with the likes of a fresh and open atmosphere. Not only that, but the brick wall is being taken down to reveal more natural sunlight in the hallway. I myself never really visited the Kirby lounge too much because, let’s face it: every time I walked in hoping that there would be a seat available, the only one that would suffice would be crammed right next to two other students on each side.  

For those of us who had the pleasure of knowing the now-ancient lounge, it is wonderful news that the bitter days of trying to find a seat and talk without being too loud are long gone in the past. But with renovations delaying, it’s disappointing that another possible study date (that does not involve the library) will have to wait.

The school is spending $1.5 million to fund this project and part of that budget is being taken out from our annual Student Service fee that we all have to pay. The project is to benefit current UMD students, but perhaps it’ll also be a contributing factor in pulling in more enrollments for the future. But we are the ones paying right now, not them. Whatever it is, trying to rush the completion is its own dispute but having to wait another possible semester is going to be a blind alley for most of us who might be leaving soon.



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