Banta: money well spent?

The Banta Bowl: Many students have heard it described as the new Lawrence University football field and the knowledge that their football team now has a new home brings joy to many.  However, many wonder how the school is putting forward this project, especially because it could sum up to $5 million, if not more. Many Lawrentians, including other sports team members, wonder why this expenditure is justified for a team that, for the 2013-2014 season, has only won one game thus far. Is it really money well spent for Lawrence University?

According to Athletic Director Michael Szkodzinski, the Banta Bowl project started last fall, when the idea of renovating the Banta Bowl was presented to the Board of Trustees. After deliberating, the Trustees made the renovations an institutional priority. The field had a fundraising system put into place that would help cover the cost of the field, to which numerous alumni and the Fox Cities Visitors Bureau has already contributed. Additionally, the football team is not the only team meant to use the field, as the soccer and baseball teams are welcome to practice when their fields are damaged due to the changing weather. Just like Szkodzinski had said, the field is something many are looking forward to.

Nevertheless, that still does not cover the issue of how Lawrence University will provide some form of money for the Banta Bowl. Money for a team that has one game in the bag so far this season does not sound too convincing. There are other issues and concerns that would benefit greatly with some money, such as the mold growing profusely within Sage Hall bathrooms. The mold is clearly evident and is a little alarming, given how unsafe it could become.

Renovations for Ormsby Hall to address the large incoming freshman class housing crisis were also put off. Funds could be allocated to help fix the old bathrooms and dorm rooms. There also is the poor heating and air system in Kohler Hall that still does not adequately heat up the rooms at all. I have also heard rumors that Main Hall’s building has foundation issues. Of course, the money could be spread out across all the clubs and activities LU loves to have.

I believe this is a wonderful opportunity to raise debate amongst students. I particularly think if Lawrence is able to raise this much money or allocate funds for this field, there should be more money put into scholarships. Many students could benefit greatly from having extra money to help with loans, books and student debt as a whole. There is plenty that could be done with the money used and it all boils down to the question: Is the Banta Bowl the best use of $5 million?