New Year, New Look! Renovations of the SGA Senate Chambers and Commons Theater

At the University Student Commons and Activities, spaces are always being refreshed to give students, staff and other campus organizations the meeting areas and technologies they need to collaborate and complete innovative work. Here’s an update of the latest changes being made in the University Student Commons: the SGA Senate Chambers and the Commons Theater.

SGA Senate Chambers

img_9762Formerly known as the Forum Room, the SGA Senate Chambers, located in room 157 of the University Student Commons, is the new meeting space for VCU SGA Senate. In addition to the name change, the space has undergone a renovation to better facilitate large meetings.

“I think it’s very important to have a central location that students know where we are. You’re always going to know that Senate is in the SGA Senate Chambers because of the name change. You’re always going to be able to access us in that regard,” VCU SGA President Vivek Kuruvilla said. 

Previously, SGA held Senate meetings in the Forum Room and the Commons Theater before moving into the new SGA Senate Chambers.

“We previously used the Forum Room, but starting the beginning of last year, we kind of outgrew the space, it wasn’t really conducive to the kind of meetings we were conducting. We realized we couldn’t fit in the room anymore, so we moved to the Commons Theater. We started hosting meetings there, but found the Theater’s a little too big. […] This summer we sat down and realized that we needed a space that accommodated us but also made SGA more accessible,” LaDarius Thompson, assistant director for Student Governance and SGA advisor, said.

Although the new space will be utilized for Senate meetings, other student groups will still have access to the space, and can make a reservation through the Virtual EMS portal.

“Now that all the tables have been removed and the furniture can be taken out, this has opened up the space for more groups to access it. I believe the renovation has made the space more accessible than before,” Thompson said.

VCU SGA Banner and camera

The renovation to the space included the removal of those large concrete tables and other furniture to make way for more seating, adding capacity for about 30 more people. In addition, new live streaming technology has been added so that SGA Senate meetings can be viewed by anyone who may not be able to make it in person.

“It’s great to be accessible to students but it’s also important that we, on the other end, reach out to them, so the adding of the live stream equipment is super important,” Kuruvilla said.

SGA Senate meetings are held every other Monday from 4-5:30 p.m. The full meeting schedule is available at sga.vcu.edu.

SGA Senate Chambers opened in Fall 2018 for University use.

Commons Theater

Photograph of renovated Commons Theater

The Commons Theater has also recently undergone a transformation – with a grand reopening on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. 

Commons Theater prior to renovation
Commons Theater prior to December 2018 renovation.

The Commons Theater is constantly used for a variety of both VCU and external events, including meetings, speakers, performances and conferences, making it a priority facility for updates. Previous renovations have included upgrades to a high definition projector and screen, while this current refresh has focused on expanding the presenters’ space at the floor of the Theater, replacing the carpet with linoleum for a bright, new look.

 

In addition to the presenter’s space upgrades, the old chairs in the Theater have been replaced with new seating, including updated lighting to illuminate the steps. There is also a clearly designated wheelchair-accessible row of seats for a more comfortable and accessible audience experience.

Commons Theater 2.1.19
Commons Theater during the Grand Reopening on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.

“The comfort and aesthetic of the Theater are much more pleasing now that the current renovations have been completed. We hope that all of our guests will enjoy these upgrades and utilize the facility to its full potential,” Jennifer Chapmen, associate director of Operations and Event Services, said.

 

Looking to the future, additional upgrades will be happening within the Commons Theater.

“Over spring break 2019, we will be painting railings and the walls, including darkening the wall behind the screen to allow for better visibility,” Rochelle Upshur, assistant director of Operations, said.

 

Now that these spaces are open, make sure to visit the Commons and come out to the many events held here – view them on RamsConnect.

Want to reserve a space for your organization? Groups interested in reserving the Commons Theater or any of our other rooms can make a reservation through the Virtual EMS portal.

For more recent renovation projects, view our articles on the Rams Lounge and The Underground.

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