The Cube in the Union Building is set to be renovated during the Easter holidays in 2016, according to Union President, Ben Franklin.
This is due to an increasing use of the Cube for conferences and lectures as student intake rises, as well as the promise of new seats for Union Films.
In a blog post, Ben Franklin states that negotiations with the university were made in order to get funding before being approved by both the Trustee Board and Union Council in a vote of 13 ‘Yes’ to 2 ‘No’.
The project is set to cost £200,000, but the University are reportedly contributing a large amount of money in this cost. Ben states that this sort of spending is in line with the normal yearly expenditure on these types of capital projects.
Renovations include an installation of a permanent stage, brighter lighting, and larger, more comfortable seats and tables, in order to make the Cube more suitable for lectures and entertainment. Ben stresses that the Union is keeping the ability to offer time in the Cube, prioritise student use and that block bookings will always be allocated before the University can choose time slots for lecture usage.
Events like Welcome Parties, Freshers Ball and Elections Results Night Live will still be able to be held, but with increased capacity as the permanent stage will take up less space.
New seats will be installed and are said to be more comfortable, however, the seating changes will slightly reduce seating capacity due to the type of seat chosen.
The Cube will provide a space for use by Performing Arts Groups, particularly music and dancing groups, and will help free space for performance venues on campus. Gigs will also be able to be held in the Cube, reducing the usage of the University owned Garden Court. This will ensure that the Student Union has more of a say in how these events are held.
We are trying our hardest to make sure that all space that can be used to deal with the expansion is of the quality our students deserve and is not just a compromise for capacity. Change always creates concerns, but I am genuinely optimistic about this development. It’s not quite the theatre I promised in my manifesto, but it’s a genuine performance space, with little to no disruption to use of The Cube as a truly multipurpose space.
Student can choose the colour of the seats in ‘Tap, Choose, Change’ in The Union on 8th October.
A layout plan cannot be provided at this time, but in the blog, Ben urges students to come to the sabbatical office to see a picture of the layout.
Speaking exclusively to Wessex Scene, he said:
I’m really pleased that things are finally in motion. Union Films and other users of the Cube have been waiting for the new seats for ages, and while we’re tackling the seats issue we’re upgrading it in many other ways. A permanent stage brings whole new potential to The Cube for all users, and I can’t wait to see it when it’s complete.