A classy step forward

 

Memorial Union renovation creates a stylish front door for ESU

If you’ve stayed in one of those trendy, upscale hotels lately, you’ve probably appreciated the open, airy feeling of the public space that greets guests as they walk in. Sunlight streaming in through tall windows, reflections dancing off dark wood accents, visitors relaxing in groups on attractive furniture—it’s the picture of a restful getaway or a productive meeting.

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That’s the scene in the eastern half of Emporia State University’s Memorial Union this fall, as renovations and additions to much of the area have been completed and the space opened up for public use.

From a two-story wall of windows that allows light to bathe Webb Hall to an attractively tiled ground floor mall that leads visitors past the Information Center, Bookstore and Hornet Express, the first phase of renovation work has drawn universally positive reactions from students and visitors.

Now the attention shifts to the western half of the Union. Demolition work on Main Street, the former Center for Student Involvement office suite, Student Health Center and Lakeview Cafeteria area started as soon as spring classes ended in May.

The new student dining area will have a different name when it reopens in early August, just in time for fall semester classes. “The Union Board of Directors has officially changed the name of the Lakeview Cafeteria to the Hornets Nest dining hall,” reports Dave Hendricks, Memorial Union director.

Another striking improvement is the addition of a three-story window wall on the north side of the Union. “Views of Lake Wooster and the bridge are enhanced, regardless of which floor you’re on,” Hendricks. Visitors coming from the patio on the north will be able to use a new staircase to get to the Hornets Nest for meals.

 

On to Phase II

The Memorial Union Renovation Steering Committee has decided to proceed with the second phase of the construction work. “This is the area on the second floor generally west of the KSTC Colonial Ballroom,” says Hendricks. That work is slated to begin Sept. 1.

 

Thanks to leadership

While it seems hard to believe that three years have passed since the initial planning meetings on the renovation project, a look at the calendar makes it official. “The Renovation Steering Committee began meeting way back in the spring of 2008,” notes Hendricks. Additionally, four student body presidents—Angela Blaufuss, Jonathan Krueger, Jonathan Rivers, and now Ashley Vogts—have helped maintain student support for the project.

 

Tax credits still available

Prospective donors to the Memorial Union renovation project have the incentive of some significant tax advantages. The Kansas Board of Regents allocated $865,000 to ESU as part of an infrastructure maintenance program approved by the Kansas Legislature. Because of that action, ESU is able to offer tax credits that may be applied to several areas of the project, including the Admissions Office, admissions reception atrium, Office of International Education and the Career Services office.

For more information on the potential tax credits, contact Brett Larson, ESU Foundation development officer, at blarson2@emporia.edu or 620-341-5440.

 

MU 7Take a look online

The Memorial Union Construction Update camera crew didn’t waste any time recruiting new student body president Ashley Vogts for the latest video recap of renovation work. Take a look at what’s been going on inside (and outside) the Union by visiting ESU’s YouTube page.