Construction work on OSU's Student Union continues
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
8/18/10 at 4:33 AM
Learn more about the
Student Union construction
project and see renderings
of the completed building.
STILLWATER - Oklahoma State University architect Nigel Jones has been very busy in the last few years.
Since 2007, eight major construction, renovation or expansion projects costing close to $250 million have been completed or are under way at the Stillwater campus.
"I've been on this campus 24 years. For a long time, there wasn't a lot going on," Jones said. "It's as if the stars came into alignment and we were able to do a lot of work on campus that needed to be done."
One of the largest projects - the $63 million renovation and upgrade to the Student Union - started last spring and is expected to be complete by fall 2011.
The project is being paid for with student fees, funds from businesses in the Student Union and through fundraising.
The north side of the Union - which houses the bookstore, student store, Campus Life department, food court and retail stores - is closed and those entities have been moved to other facilities and temporary buildings nearby.
Many of these services are vital to students, especially during the first days and weeks of the new school year that starts Aug. 23, officials said.
"We realize this is a huge inconvenience for the campus," said Mitchell Kilcrease, Student Union director. "When school starts up, it will be a test. It's going to be a challenge."
The bookstore, student store, food court, convenience store and post office have been relocated to a temporary building unit called Utoo.
"It's a lifeboat. It's not designed to replace the Student Union," Kilcrease said. "We're trying everything we can to provide the best possible service. It's a nice lifeboat, though."
Campus Life offices have been moved to the basement of the Classroom Building just north of the Student Union.
During the first two weeks of school, teams will direct people to the appropriate places and hand out maps of the new locations of services and offices, Kilcrease said.
"It's construction, it's messy. We're asking people to be gracious and kind," he said. "A little pain comes before something good."
The renovated Union will move Campus Life from the basement to the second floor overlooking a new plaza area between the Union and Classroom Building, which also will have outdoor seating and an amphitheater.
The food court will be expanded on the first floor with additional seating and food options, Kilcrease said. The bookstore and other student services also will be on the first floor.
The post office, hair salons and other retailers will be moved to the basement.
Jones said the Student Union has gone through only a few renovations since it was built in 1951.
"The building was in desperate need. To survive 60 years is pretty amazing," he said.
"A lot has changed in that time. To really make it work for the students of today we needed to do this work."
The largest improvement includes infrastructure and mechanical system upgrades, much of which haven't been replaced since the Union was built, Jones said.
"There's an amazing maintenance team that kept this building together about 20 years longer than it should have," he said.
The Student Union project has been in the planning stages for five years and included input from students, faculty, staff and alumni, Kilcrease said. Maintaining the integrity and history of the building was paramount.
In a year, when this project is done, Jones still won't get a break. He and others in the long-range facilities office are currently conducting feasibility studies on possible construction projects on the Seretean Center, Spears School of Business and the College of Human Environmental Science.
Construction projects in progress
- The $74.5 million Henry Bellmon Research Center is almost complete with finishing work being done and upgrades being completed to the connecting Physical Science building.
- Raw water irrigation system being installed throughout campus on lawns and garden areas.
Recently completed projects
Original Print Headline: Refurbishing OSU Student Union still under way
- The $15 million North Classroom Building has classrooms and auditoriums.
- The Donald W. Reynolds School of Architecture underwent a $20.7 million renovation, remodel and expansion.
- The Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory expansion includes additional specialized laboratories for $13.8 million.
- The new $23 million Multimodal Transportation Terminal is the campus' transportation hub and includes a parking garage.
- A renovated Murray Hall is the new home of College of Arts and Sciences. It cost $25.7 million.
- Old Central - the oldest building on campus - is now home to the Honors College. It was renovated for $8.6 million.
Sara Plummer 581-8465
Construction work continues on the north side of Oklahoma State University's Student Union. The Union is undergoing a $63 million renovation and is expected to be completed by August 2011. SARA PLUMMER / Tulsa World
Oklahoma State University's temporary Utoo facility houses some Student Union services such as the food court, bookstore and student store. Offices and retailers were moved out of the Student Union while it undergoes a $63 million renovation. SARA PLUMMER / Tulsa World
Mark Nelson shops for textbooks in the bookstore in Oklahoma State University's Utoo facility. SARA PLUMMER / Tulsa World