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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

LBJ Student Center is a safety hazard for students

Illustration+by+Erikka+Polk.

Illustration by Erikka Polk.

The construction taking place at the LBJ Student Center is to be completed by February 2020. Until then, LBJ has other safety issues that need to be revisited and reevaluated.
Every college has a hub of some sort. It is a building that hosts the main events of the university and has the most traffic and happenings going on at one time. Unfortunately for Texas State students, our hub is currently under insane construction. This causes extreme inconvenience for students and raises safety concerns.
Texas State decided to care more about its appearance and enhancement than the concerns of their students. The LBJ Student Center has five levels and—at this point in time—it is an incredibly uncomfortable place to be in.
In fact, according to Jake Rahmann, the Director of LBJ Building Operations, the total amount of students that pass through the student center has dropped more than 30 percent since construction started. Most students use the building as a shortcut to the main area of campus from the bus stop located at LBJ. However, students are now completely avoiding the area as much as possible because of the inconvenience of navigating through the building and around the construction.
There is only one entrance that is available to the student body and it’s located on the third floor next to the bus stop. All other doors are only emergency exits, meaning they can’t be used as normal entrances or exits. Rahmann confirmed that emergency exits were created in preparation for the adjustments that would be made around the building. Yet, the lack of readily accessible exits and entrances currently available is alarming.
The real concern lies in the fact that the building has basically become a giant basement. With little to no windows in the main lobby and the fact there is only one main way to enter and exit the building, it’s a risky place for students who easily feel claustrophobic to be in. Students shouldn’t feel confined in a place they frequent for food, class and events.
The LBJ Student Center is no stranger to evacuations. In late October of 2017, there were several bomb threats sent to food service employees in LBJ and evacuations had to be made for several hours to ensure everyone’s safety. Texas State should be taking these experiences into consideration as they continue to hinder students. According to Rahmann, there have even been evacuations since construction started. For example, a false alarm evacuation was accidentally caused by a construction worker and his power drill.
Although nothing dangerous occurred, as a result it became clear there is no real evacuation plan made available to the public. The building procedure is for a group of staff members to run around LBJ and guide people to safety, but an actual written plan that students can look towards and use to prepare themselves does not exist.
The first floor of LBJ is the most at-risk location inside the building. Every exit is a designated emergency exit and there are only about four available. Surely Texas State made sure to stay in proper protocol, but the situation is something students should feel skeptical about.
The LBJ Student Center needs to provide more signs on the first floor to indicate exactly where the exits are located. Attaching small signs on the doors is simply not enough due to the popularity of the area. The building operations staff has provided a brief outline of all the available exits and updates on the construction through their website, yet have hardly made an effort to bring that same awareness inside the actual building itself.
Texas State has every right to look into renovating the campus to capitalize themselves and their appearance. The problem isn’t the construction; rather, it’s the lack of communication the university has with the student body to ensure safety for everyone. The inconvenience is expected and understandable. However, the safety of the students should be reassured by Texas State and taken into priority.
The LBJ Student Center used to be a core part of campus. It felt like a safe place. Now, all it causes is frustration, paranoia and potential harm to students.
Laura Nunez is an advertising sophomore

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