The architects for our project were back visiting campus again on Tuesday and Wednesday. As always, their visit included a session with the Student Design Planning Group – a group of students who have been appointed through Student Senate, Housing and Residential Life, Offices like Diversity and Inclusion along with International Student Services, student programming groups, and other students who were suggested by staff and faculty members from across campus for their involvement and variety of perspectives. In addition to the large group, they had individual sessions with other stakeholder groups.
The groups received updates on how project scope and budgetary challenges have affected the project in different ways. Project scope refers to how much of the building will be renovated – we simply do not have the money to renovate the entire building. So, we have a master plan in place that includes phases of renovation that align with campus priorities. We excited in this phase for the 3000+ square foot addition that will have a coffeehouse atmosphere, the creation of a student involvement neighborhood, a more open flow of traffic, a Welcome Desk, the new Overlook Lounge, and so much more sunlight in the building. Additionally, we have had to make some modifications to pull the project back within the $9 million budget. We will participate in the state bond sale in late February and early March which will give us $4.5 million in addition to the $4.5 million we have saved for the project. We are proud that even with the budgetary challenges, we are able to still achieve priorities that were identified by students in the pre-design process:
- Coffeehouse atmosphere
- Student Involvement Neighborhood
- Welcoming Entry
- Social Spaces
We are also excited, because they presented a proposed schedule for construction – with a ground breaking happening May 4, 2015 (weather permitting, we are in Minnesota after all!) and major construction wrapped up by end of May 2016. Of course, the rest of 2016 and into 2017 work will continue to get every detail finished.
Student were delighted to see some samples the architects brought of brick, metal, floors, walls, fabrics and more. Seems like there will be plenty of Dragon Pride infused into the building through these materials! We look forward to seeing even more as the plans continue to take shape and show our Dragon Pride.
We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through the design process of this large-scale project, with the size of the project, there are many details that are still coming together. The process to arrive at a final design is not simply a linear one – there are zigs and zags and curly-cues and swirls as ideas are formed, as opinions are voiced, as concerns are raised, as challenges arise and as we align with institutional priorities. It is never our intention to keep you in the dark about the project – there are times that we have chosen not to push information out to the public because the plans are not final and when we do provide information, we want it to be accurate. If you have questions, we invite you to ask by contacting CMU @ mnstate.edu with questions or setting up a meeting with a staff member to help you better understand what is happening in your student union.