27k Plan to Convert Student Space into Offices

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The Union’s ‘Clubs and Socs’ room will be converted into an open plan office for Union staff this summer, if plans approved at this week’s Union Management Board are ratified on Monday’s Union Council.

It the proposals go ahead, they are expected to cost the Union £27,700.

The Clubs and Societies room above The Stags Head is currently the largest Union space available for students and is often used by students for meetings, band practice and a rehearsal space for the PAU.

Under the plans set out by the Union’s Commercial Development department, the room will become an open plan office for the Communications, Marketing and Technology (CMT) team, Venues staff, Catering Management, and the Health and Safety Manager at the Union.

The current Catering Office will become a Staff Room, and the old CMT office will become the new Clubs and Socs room, despite being smaller.

The Media Resources room will be moved to the old Venues office.

The plans follow last summer’s relocation of the sabbatical office from above The Stag’s Head to the main SUSU building, and are all part of the Union’s ‘overall Master Plan’ for their buildings.

A form submitted to Union Council to approve the relocations states, that ‘these moves are seen to enable future development whilst giving a long term vision to our services and their respective locations.’

The form adds, ‘we believe that by creating areas of combined resources and natural synergies between departments, communication will improve, business will grow and our services to the students will improve.’

Brass Band currently use Clubs and Socs room to practice every week. Jacob Povall was President of Brass Band this year and said: ‘if we had to move downstairs we would have problems with noise complaints, and it feels like we’re being thrown out of sight in the basement. When we practice above The Stags Head we get lots of publicity for Brass Band because people hear us playing all around campus, we wouldn’t get that if we moved to what’s now the CMT office.

‘It seems like a bit of a waste, the money could be spent on other stuff like making the current student spaces better, CMT and other offices have already got infrastructure in place.’

Union President Billy Fitzjohn commented: ‘the proposal regarding room moves was approved unanimously and I believe this will be a positive step for the Union and its members.’

The decision was discussed and voted on by Trustees of the Union Management Board (UMB) – the committee that handles large scale financial decisions at the Union – Wednesday afternoon.

As the cost will be over £15,000 the proposals, planned to be implemented over the summer, constitutionally cannot go ahead without approval from Union Council.

Billy added: ‘the Trustees met on Wednesday afternoon and discussed these proposals, along with many of the trustee elects who were invited to the last board meeting of the year. This move isn’t about the improvement of the CMT office, it is about the making our current student spaces better for our members as well improving the front facing support to our members by co-locating our departments such as CMT, Venues, Catering and others.

‘The mention of the new student space being smaller is completely misleading, as under these proposals the floor space for student bookable space will actually increase. As well as having a large open bookable space, there will also be room for a proper storage cupboard for our students to use (currently in Clubs & Socs it is all kept around the sides of the room) and there will also be a smaller room that will be bookable to any students.

‘This move brings all of our bookable spaces together for students, right next to meeting rooms one and two at the Union, as well as areas such as the dance studio and the student activities room. As is often the case with major change, there are some that will have specific concerns regarding the proposal and I am happy to speak to any person who is concerned.

‘The proposal is also coming to Union Council on Monday where it will have to be discussed and then voted on, although I will stress that this money is being spent to improve the student experience and it creates even more bookable spaces, if anyone is confused around the proposals then I will be more than happy to have a chat with them.’

Union Council will take place on Monday at 5pm in the University Senate Room, found in the Student Services building. Any student can attend to voice their opinion on issues.

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Discussion7 Comments

  1. avatar

    Seems unnecessary. Not sure if the plans will be ratified at Council tomorrow. Also, I don’t Media Resources to move because it’s close to the media departments for which they are used (in my case SUSUtv and Surge).

    Sasha Watson
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    It makes sense when its explained. CMT is such a hard place to explain to students where it is, and putting it together with Venues makes sense because quite simply – people don’t know the difference or who to go to first. What’s more, it puts all the “student facing” offices together – Societies Office, AU Office, CMT, Venues, SUAIC – if a student needs to ask a question about anything, they all now just go to one corridor.

    The room in space made up by the move will allow a similar, if still slightly reduced, space for what the majority of people need it for – the number of students actually affected will be very small, just look at Room Bookings to see who actually uses the Clubs and Socs room. It also means that the new Meeting Room 3 which will replace Media Resources can be used as an extra dance studio as a place to put move-able mirrors, extra room for meetings, or as extra revision space.

  2. avatar

    Makes sense if the plans free up more space for Student Activities. Why not turn the staff room into more student space then as well, it is a Students’ Union after all – and its not like there isn’t a staff club, a bar, a cafe and the Stags about is there?

  3. avatar

    The only problem I have with this is just how loud the SUSU corridors will get.

    Apart from that, if the new clubs & socs room is bigger, can anyone really complain? Putting all those offices together makes sense, the new clubs and socs room will be next to all the other student activity centres (meeting rooms, sports, media, cube etc).

    I can’t even find it in myself to argue against the staff room – whilst it’s not neccesarily money being spent on students, it improves working conditions for employees of SUSU which I’m happy about. Rather be a member of a Union that is respoonsible for it’s staff than one that forces staff to eat lunch at their desk.

    Andre Pusey
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    Good effort at being anonymous, Chadd!

  4. avatar

    I think the move has a positive element for a lot of SUSU departments. Student run events organised by JCRs and RAG will find it easier having everything in one place to orchestrate publicity, budget and general approval from the appropriate staff.

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