Amphitheater to be built beside Bayou Desiard

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Amphitheater to be built beside Bayou Desiard

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Along with turtles and the bayou, ULM is going to have a new attraction on campus. According to the SGA’s vote on Tuesday, ULM will now have an amphitheater on the west side of the bayou, in front of Starbucks.

Many students were upset about the amphitheater’s location.

“Many events are held at Bayou Park. But if the amphitheater is built, where will events that have free food, activities and other things be held,” said Anna Seal, a junior dental hygiene major.

The project was originally part of the housing construction plan that included the Bayou Village apartments. However, due to financial issues, the plan for an amphitheater had to be stopped. As per the conceptual plan, the amphitheater will have 180 fixed seats.

Compared to how many students attended ULM’s Got Talent, Caroline Milan, a sophomore pre-occupational therapy assistant major, is worried about such limited seating.

“This will not hold enough people for events. Plus our weather is only nice approximately three times out of the year for an amphitheater,” Milan said.

However, Camille Currier, the vice president for Student Affairs, said that there’s an easy solution to this problem.

“You can easily put around 1,000 people with blankets and lawn chairs,” Currier said.

The $1.3 million project will be built using the Student Support fee that has been adding up over the year, according to Currier.

The fee came into effect after a university-wide budget cut in 2011. According to Currier, the referendum was voted by students on spring 2012 to support student activities on campus.

The fee generates around $1.5 million annually. It is also used to support SGA, Counseling Center, Student Affairs, Student Services and Career Connections.

Due to the referendum, it cannot be used to renovate academic buildings.

Many students were upset discovering that the fee was being used to build an amphitheater rather than using it on other arts.

“If ULM has money to put towards the arts, why not put it towards repairing our existing art buildings rather than building a new one? Bry [Hall] is practically falling apart with the ceiling leakage and what not. And those who are in charge of the building the amphitheater say they can’t afford to fix it? Well, obviously, that’s a lie,” said Erica Garcia, a senior art major.

While Garcia wishes the money could be used for a different art program, some students wish they could use the money for something besides arts.

“Why do we need an amphitheater? We already have Bry Hall, Brown Hall, Biedenharn Hall and Spyker,” Seal said.

Milan and Seal said they wished that this fee money could be used for a bowling alley, a natatorium or a movie theater.

Seal said that places like these could be opened up to the community and the ULM campus could make a profit.

According to Currier, the fee can neither be used for on-campus housing renovations.

SGA’s vote on Tuesday allowed the fee to be used for the amphitheater’s construction.

Although the policy to use the amphitheater hasn’t been set yet, Currier said that it can be used for both RSO and outside events.

Keeping in mind the nearby library and residential halls, Currier said that the amphitheater would not have late night events in the middle of the week.

The plan also took suggestions from Deborah Chandler, the director of Choral Activities, for possible VAPA uses.