Student union makeover in works

Nearly 45 years after it’s opening, the “living room of the

university” is on the path of being revamped. The Memorial Student

Union is slated for renovations to begin within the next the two

years and scheduled to completed within a four-year span.

Nearly 45 years after it’s opening, the “living room of the university” is on the path of being revamped. The Memorial Student Union is slated for renovations to begin within the next the two years and scheduled to completed within a four-year span.

“It is time to do something with the student union,” said executive director of MSU Carl Baker. “It is almost 45 years old and it has issues with HVAC systems, not really open and inviting to visitors.”

Baker has been frontrunner for operation of the union regarding budgeting, marketing and strategic planning and he says the union is in need of a new look. He also adds that with new students coming in, it is time for a more modern student center that will help with recruiting and attracting students.

Since last year, the renovation of the student union has been a big issue when representatives had students fill out surveys about what they want in the union in order to improve it’s look and purpose on campus.

“We wanted to get feedback from the students with having focus groups, meetings and basically get the students involved with this project,” said Baker.

Baker hopes the new union will be a contender in looks such as the one at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. UNCC’s student union cost close to $80 million. Thus far, A&T has budgeted for development and plans. 

The renovation proposal will build a new center in the same footprint as the current union, but it will be expanded towards Cooper Hall. One challenge the designers have faced is that the union is currently land-locked, with very few points of access.  Also, permissions are needed for expansion.

As the development is underway, the projected time for the new facility to be completed is within a four-year period.

“When everything is approved, construction will start two years from now and time for everything to be constructed and finished is another two years later,” said Baker.

Looking ahead within the new student center, ideas of bringing more recreational features for the students are important.

“We plan to bring in a recreation area with bowling, game room, billiards…also a salon or barbershop and many retail areas like an Apple store,” said Baker. He continues discussing that other features such as a food court, meeting spaces, student area for the Student Government Association and ticket office and the bookstore are possible additions to the new student center as well.

The new union plans are displayed outside the union’s convenience store or the C-store, and have created a buzz on campus.  While excited about the proposed changes, many are somewhat disheartened that they won’t be around to see the new union.

“It’s sad by the time it will be completed, I’ll be leaving but it’s good that the union will expand to be at the same level as other universities,” said electrical engineer major, Cameron Ward. Other students feel that the union is used to just get something to eat and leave and not for students to lounge and relax.

Students will have a more interactive presence in not only events, but recreational purposes because of the new facility on campus. “We are very excited that we will have a student center that is bigger and better and will create that hub for the campus,” said Baker.

[email protected] and follow on Twitter @_erikveal

  • Erik Veal & DaShawn Fleming, Register Staff