A promised land far from Pitt-Johnstown

Dylan Johnson, News Editor

Some returning Pitt-Johnstown students expecting a ski lift, Briar Lodge computer lab or Hawthorn  Lodge renovations may have been disappointed.

Students like Pitt-Johnstown Ski Club Vice President Justin Wolfe were disappointed to find that, if they wanted to use Pitt-Johnstown’s ski slopes this year, they still have to walk back up the hill.

“I am disappointed that (President Jem) Spectar did not hold up to his promises, but on the same hand, I used to work at a ski resort and understand the extreme cost of implementing something like that at UPJ.

“I understand that running something like this takes manpower and financial power, and, along with safety concerns, it’s easy to see that Spectar didn’t realize what he was promising when he said that he was going to add a lift,” said Wolfe.

Wolfe also said that Pitt-Johnstown Ski Club members as well as nonmembers use the slopes heavily during the winter.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the Ski Club would make great use of a ski lift,” said Wolfe.  “And you would definitely find us down there more often.”

Wolfe also said that a ski lift would attract many prospective students to apply to Pitt-Johnstown.

“If it was me, and I was on the fence about where to attend college, and I saw that, it would be a deal breaker for me,” said Wolfe.  “I would be screaming, ‘UPJ here I come!’ ”

Along with a ski lift, some students also expected a 24-hour computer lab in Briar Lodge.  However, plans were changed over the summer and Blackington Hall was designated to be the 24-hour computer lab.

Briar Lodge was, however, fully renovated over the summer, although originally, Hawthorn Lodge was supposed to be renovated as well.

Director of Housing and Residence Life Mark Dougherty said that renovating Hawthorn Lodge would have been too expensive.

“We partially renovated Hawthorn two years ago,” said Dougherty.  “And we plan to renovate Hawthorn next summer.”

Dougherty said that Briar Lodge needed to be renovated more than Hawthorn.

“We look at money versus the age and need (of a building),” said Dougherty.

At Monday’s Student Government Association meeting, Spectar said that Krebs Hall is to be renovated by next August.  He also said that crews are to break ground on Pitt-Johnstown’s new nursing building in four to six weeks and have it completed by spring  2013.

Student government vice president and former  foods committee chairman Marcus McGuire said that he and Sodexo General Manager Victor Costlow talked last semester about new meal plans and a renovation to the Main Cafeteria’s dish return area, neither of which resulted in any changes being made.