The Center for Students in Recovery will relocate from the basement of the School for Social Work to Bellmont Hall early next year after a larger space for the program is constructed.
While operating in the basement, center employees have dealt with sewage leaks and cockroach issues, which sometimes make the space uninviting for students who come to use recovery services, said the center’s director Ivana Grahovac.
“It’s already so hard for people to ask for help when they’re struggling with disease — why would we make them come to a room that is so substandard when they’re already so marginalized?” Grahovac said.
Grahovac said the program’s new space will include a break room, a lounge room for students and four offices for the staff. Originally, center administrators planned to reduce the number of offices already existing in the Bellmont location, but Grahovac said the quality of the rooms and the anticipated growth of the program made them reconsider.
“Those four rooms were in perfectly fine condition,” Grahovac said. “In fact, the original plan was to tear them down and create three offices out of four, but we walked through there, we were like ‘Wow, we’re actually going to be growing so it’s better to leave it as it is, and it would help us keep in budget.’”
The project does include renovation of about 3,000 square feet of the second floor which will create a large meeting space for students to congregate.
Deborah Femat, project manager with Project Management and Construction Services, said the Bellmont space was formerly part of the kinesiology department but is now being renovated to meet the needs of the center.
“They have all these wonderful spaces now in the FAC and the SAC where everybody can sit around and work on their computers,” Femat said. “That’s basically what this is, but it can also be used in meetings.”
Grahovac said the original project cost was $200,000, but has escalated to $330,000. She said the center was able to raise the extra money by reaching out to supporters.
“Our fundraising is built on relationships,” Grahovac said. “Some organizations that are nonprofit have luncheons and events where they charge money to raise money for their operating expenses, but we prefer to raise money through relationships and ongoing partnerships, gifts from grants, donations [and] endowments.”
Economics senior Lance Mixon, a service co-chair for Students in Recovery, said he is excited for the new space.
“I’ve only been waiting like three years,” Mixon said. “[Moving is] a huge step, and its not because we’re not successful [in the current building], but part of it is the facade and being in the stadium and the attitude toward Bellmont hall … It’s all just different.”
The Center will move into the new facility in mid-January.
Correction: Due to a reporting error this article which originally ran in the Nov. 21 issue of The Daily Texan has been corrected. The project's current cost was originally reported as $390,000.