Construction to begin on Student Center - The South End: Campus

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Construction to begin on Student Center

Major renovations will add natural light, meeting areas

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Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:17 pm, Mon Nov 11, 2013.

Bye, bye paper airplanes -- the Student Center is being renovated this upcoming spring and many updates, including new ceilings, are planned.

The lower level and first three floors are the parts being renovated, with the upper floors remaining untouched. 

According to an announcement from the Division Of Finance and Business Operations, the architectural firm of Neurmann + WTW Architects was chosen for design services in the renovation project.

Conceptual art for the renovation was posted outside of the building on Friday, Oct. 18 before being taken to a meeting regarding the project. Many students and staff stopped by to see the new plan, approving of the proposal.

The current Student Center was built in 1963, before Wayne State had dorms and was primarily a commuter school. Students would drive downtown, go to class, then drive back home, never stopping by the lounges and study areas of the center.

 As more and more students began to live on campus, the need for an improved Student Center was recognized by the administration.

“Planning for a major renovation or replacement of the Student Center has been under way since 2006 to create the modern, central campus meeting and activity space Wayne State needs and deserves today,” said Tim Michael, chief housing operator.

“I believe the best part of the renovation is going to be the overall look and feel that the new Student Center will bring to campus,” Michael said. “It will be the campus crossroads and ‘living room’ where the entire campus community can find services and activities.”

Michael, who is in charge of the renovation, says the renovation will also foster student success.

“The Student Center provides opportunities to eat, socialize and study, but more importantly our students can hold events, meetings and activities that help them gain valuable skills and connections to the university,” he said.

The renovation features a very open design, with open areas between the first three floors. The upper floors will have all windows so students can view Gullen Mall as they study, eat, or lounge about.

The lower level will get a new 3,061-square-foot U-Club and a 4,124-square-foot gaming lounge along with new dining areas, a dance room and an updated South End office.

The first floor is getting new lounges on both the south and north sides of the building with almost 9,000 square feet of new dining areas. There are also plans for a brand new convenience store on the first floor, with a built in “spirit” store, according to design plans.

The second floor will have an all new ballroom, more student lounges and updated meeting spaces. The third floor will boast an all new student life area, a campus activities team office and a student organization work area along with new logging areas.

An addition will be added to the south end of the building to provide new circulation within the building and introduce natural light into the lower level.  New windows will also provide even more natural light on the second and third floors.

Students are excited about the improvements, saying that having a student center is a crucial part of campus life.

“I think it’s important to have the Student Center because it’s a place where we can go and study or do homework or grab a bite to eat,” said freshman Nick Deleersnyder. Students like Deleersnyder, who use the Student Center often, are very happy to see that the building is getting a new look after all these years. “It’ll be nice having a new place where you can go and hang out and relieve stress from class.”

“I’ve just gotten used to the current Student Center so I might miss it, but I’m sure the new one will be equally awesome,” said freshman Stephanie Johnstone. “I think people will really benefit by making good use of all that new space.”

The renovation will begin in April 2014 and is expected to be finished by August 2015. The Student Center will never be completely shutdown because construction crews will only be closing parts of the building as they work. 

And while the paper plane tradition will come to an end, students are still happy about their center’s bright future.

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