by JESSICA ZALEWKSI '15
What SUA affectionately calls the "White building" is technically the Herman Schneider Building. SUA purchased it 10 years ago with ideas of converting it into a student commons area, a theater, maybe even a library. Since then, the Keller Center was purchased and was re-purposed to serve as the student center. So, what now shall we make of the White building with its imposing facade "brooding" over the East parking lot?
Mini-History Lesson: Who was this man whose name is stamped on the building? Herman Schneider was an engineer, architect, and educator, and was the main founder of cooperative education in the USA. At the University of Cincinnati, Schneider observed ways to improve technical education. In 1904, UC’s president was quite impressed with Schneider, and 2 years later recommended the young professor to be the first dean of UC’s newly formed College of Engineering. Thanks to Herman Schneider, we are able to expand our campus even further through his building.
“Imagine what your house is like after one week of [being away on] vacation, and then multiply it by 10 years,” says Mr. Maliborski. “The building belongs to us, but we cannot enter it because it needs to be completely cleaned.” Through years of inactivity, the building has deteriorated.
In the recent years, there have been some ideas, but the building and SUA itself are located in a historic district, so any changes made to the buildings must be city approved.
According to Mr. Maliborski, “We actually just completed a master site plan, but we’re just not ready to specify what the changes are.” A master site plan includes all of the topography maps, sewers, and underground utility lines, and so on.
In order to decide what is to be done with the property, the Academy first is focusing on its current and future needs. So, the White building is going to remain a cloud of mystery for a bit longer. There are some definite ideas on paper and even ideas for the funding that will be necessary, but there are some hurdles that need to be addressed before the process officially begins. One obstacle here is not only what the White building is to become, but how long the process will take, and how it will affect students, faculty, and staff at SUA in regards to parking.
“In addition to the White building, SUA owns the property that stretches all the way back to Fleming St., including the abandoned swimming pool,” says Mr. Maliborski. The abandoned swimming pool might be news to you, but if you were to stand in the theater parking lot, you would be able to see where the swimming pool should be. The question here is why no one has ever known about this swimming pool? Is it home to some unwanted creatures? The building also is home to the “chillers.” I made the mistake of getting my hopes up in thinking the “chillers” were ghosts or some sort of haunted object, but no, they’re just the massive air conditioning units used to provide air condition to the East wing. I'll still continue to imagine that the “chillers” are haunted beings waltzing through the halls of the building as for the reason for the chained and locked front doors of the White building, to keep us safe outside, and to keep them locked in.
Some students have voiced their opinions about the desire for a senior parking lot, converting the building into a haunted house, using it as a possible natatorium, a beautiful new theater, or even a library. So who knows; maybe in 10 years the campus we know today will be entirely different. We already take pride in our historical, unique campus, but in a few short years it will evolve into something much more.