EDITORIALEducation in a Double-Wide

To say that the Western Carolina University community needs the repairs that the bond money will subsidize is a gross understatement. This campus is in dire need of some serious work. Roofs are caving in, heaters aren’t heating, and several classrooms are bereft of much needed equipment. The money will help to alleviate the stress that so many students and faculty on this campus are plagued by every day.

Too bad we will have to lose some parking spaces.

On a campus already short on parking spaces, the thought of losing some precious spots does not sit well. Better plan ahead, Western, because parking is going to become scarce starting very soon.

Some of you may be asking yourselves, “But why will we have to lose parking spaces because of the construction?” The answer is logical: when the buildings are in the process of being gutted, the classrooms will have to become mobile. Homes, that is.

And you thought double-wide education stopped when you were in high school.

Think about it. Stillwell building is proposed to have over $15 million worth of repairs and improvements done in the not too distant future. Unless the construction takes less than two days — which is highly unlikely — many of the classrooms will be non-operational for quite a while. This means one of three things: move the classes to open rooms in other buildings, cancel the classes all together until the space is open again, or buy some lovely mobile classrooms.

We all know where the mobile classrooms would have to go. There are only so many open spots on campus that could accommodate them, and those are the parking lots. I can see it now: the hillside behind the Baptist Church covered in light blue mobile homes, all with those eye-catching window unit air-conditioners and green plastic porches.

Nothing could be finer.

I suppose this could be the chance for Western to blend into the scenic surrounding communities.

Now would be the time for Western’s hierarchy to act. I saw a dealership offering a $1000 Wal-Mart gift certificate and free Direct TV hook-up with the purchase of a three bedroom, two bath model. Hot damn.

Maybe the University will lease out one of the nearby mobile home parks and use the already existing structures. We could call it the “WCU II.”

One has to wonder if, when the initial numbers for the bond came through, they included costs for construction and the roving classrooms. One has to wonder if the numbers were anything more than random guesses.

Perhaps, they will do something along the lines of expanding the times they offer certain classes. Maybe those hallowed Saturday mornings and late Friday evenings would become prime time for some college algebra! Sorry, babe, I can’t see you tonight. I have to make a coil pot.

I wonder if these possible events will affect student retention. I can definitely see how classes being moved to a double-wide or offered at horrible times would cause campus residents to consider relocation.

But imagine if they don’t buy those extra classrooms, and they don’t offer other times, and they wind up canceling some classes all together. THAT would be a real stroke of genius.

“Yes, I need to take your class to graduate.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, that class was canceled due to lack of space.”

You may think I am totally off base. So be it. We’ll just see how off base I am when your chemistry lab is being taught in the third unit on the left behind the green port-a-potty.