Construction leads to Homecoming changes

Construction on the UC Patio continues. Holly Bensur // Contributing Photographer
Construction of an amphitheater where the UC patio was previously located will continue throughout the fall semester. It is expected to be completed by the spring of 2013.

Students may make new traditions this Homecoming season with the ongoing construction of the University Center (UC) patio affecting the locations of certain events like the announcement of the Homecoming king and queen and organized cheer.

These events were usually held on the patio, weather permitting, until construction of the patio began in conjunction with the Student Activities Center, according to Lara Lackstein, chair of the Homecoming executive committee.

Instead, the announcement of the Homecoming king and queen will take place at the Newman Alumni Center near the fraternity houses, while the organized cheer or “o-cheer” will occur at the Fieldhouse by the BankUnited Center.

Lackstein believes that the positives of these new locations far outweigh the negatives.

“We are not constrained by weather, and there is a more manageable sound system,” she said. “But we are sad to see the patio go and not have access to it. We are sacrificing one year to have great performances in the future.”

Students like senior Annabel Escandon are not concerned about the change and feel that Homecoming will remain as exciting.

“The alumni center is a little out of the way, but it’s super pretty,” she said. “I’d still go.”

Because these evens will be held throughout campus, Lackstein and the committee are developing a marketing plan to make students aware of each event and its details.

“These are very well attended events, and we are working to achieve those same numbers,” Lackstein said.

Though the construction may alter the location of these events, Dan Westbrook, director of the UC, assures that everything is being considered for the events.

“We are not going in unprepared,” he said. “We know what is available and what is not.”

The project will be completed in early to mid-spring, near February for use by spring break, according to Westbrook.

“We are on schedule, and everything is going as planned,” he said.

The construction is being completed in thirds, with the first portion almost finished and used as an area for Rathskeller gliders. The second section will develop a middle, transition zone that provides added shade and furnishings.

The last third will feature a new amphitheater that descends three feet from the current level of the patio. It will be located near the corner, where the pool and patio meet, and will have a covered stage and audiences seated in terraces.

Westbrook hopes that students will use it not only visit the patio during certain times like Homecoming but also to enjoy the daily view from the lake.

“It was not as appealing before,” he said. “It will be more inviting to go and see the water.”

Students like senior Mariam Alnasi see the amphitheater as an ideal resource for student programming and recreational use.

“The Dean of Students Office’s organizations like Honor Council and Pier 21 can use that space to host events,” she said. “The open space would also be great for get togethers and spending time by the water.”