Students Approve Funding for Student Union Renovation

Student Union Building

By a 55-45 percent margin, undergraduates voted last week to approve a fee increase to provide half the funding for a $50 million renovation of the Student Union. The other half of the funding will be a $25 million capital expenditure by the university, campus officials said.

The renovation plan will modernize a building that was first opened in 1957 when there were just 4,800 students enrolled on campus. Today, the Student Union serves nearly 30,000 students and more than 200 registered student organizations. It is also home to student businesses and the Center for Student Governance. The Student Union has not been renovated since its original construction and is in need of significant space and related infrastructure renovations, university officials said.

A preliminary design was completed earlier this year with a student experience master plan. The proposed renovations include:

  • A highly active “Main Street” style promenade with concentrated retail, student services and dining options
  • A consolidated media center serving the Daily Collegian, UVC-TV19 and WMUA that is positioned so activity is visible from the Main Street
  • A new entry and outdoor plaza with a streamlined connection to the Lincoln Campus Center
  • Expanded student business space
  • A new “black box” theater designed to provide additional on-campus performance and screening space
  • New meeting, activity and assembly space
  • The ballroom and Cape Cod Lounge will be repurposed into new, divisible, multipurpose areas for medium-sized assembly and function space
  • A Student Organization Resource Center to provide direction and assistance to visitors
  • Office, work and shared conference room space
  • Dedicated storage lockers for RSOs
  • Updated mechanical and electrical systems

The students approved a fee increase of $100 per year in the student activity fee. With that funding in place, the university said it will now seek approval from the Board of Trustees in the spring.

The process entails selecting a designer who will do a building renovation study to provide a more detailed plan and cost estimates for the project this spring. If the trustees agree to move forward after reviewing the more formal building study, the university would work with the designer on a final plan and start construction bidding in early 2019. Construction would start in spring 2019 through summer 2020, with the hope the building could be occupied in fall 2020. This is a tentative schedule.