Staff Editorial

Over the past year, the Lawrence landscape has changed considerably. The most prominent of these transformations has been the construction of the Warch Campus Center. As we welcome the many new contributions to campus life the campus center offers, we are troubled by the state of inactivity of Memorial Union, now Memorial Hall, and Downer Commons.
Memorial Hall is currently only being used by Freshman Studies classes and professors who have gone out of their way to take advantage of these new classrooms. While the Viking Room is still in full operation, the former Coffee House is only used at the beginning of each term to sell textbooks. Downer Commons has been abandoned almost entirely. Presently, the building’s heating remains at the minimum level necessary to prevent the pipes from freezing and to preserve the Teakwood Room. There are plans being developed to renovate these spaces in the future, though they are on hold due to financial reasons. We worry, however, that both Memorial Hall and Downer Commons are not being used to their full potential during this transition.
We caution against this interim period becoming one of stagnation. Downer has the potential to be used for multiple short-term activities. There is currently a student petition circulating calling for a temporary art gallery. We think this is an excellent idea. Additional possible uses include spaces for classes and organized activities that are usually held in the rec center and often conflict with each other. Memorial Hall can similarly meet either student or administrative needs.
While these are just a few suggestions regarding the future use of the two facilities, we hope that the administration and students can find a way to come together to fully utilize the potential of these buildings.