Starting spring semester the first floor of the Kirby Student Center will undergo step one of the renovation into a new design and layout that are yet to be determined. The last renovation of the student center was done over 30 years ago. It still has its original layout, design and furniture.
“We want to make Kirby a stop and a hangout spot, not just a spot to walk through,” said Director of Kirby Student Center Jeni Eltink.
Eltink said that the way the first floor is currently set up is in a bunch of separate pieces: the hall, the offices and the lounge.
“We want to create a better flow of the floor and bring everything together. It is a complete redo,” Eltink said.
There are currently 20 designers working on proposals of designs that they want to see implemented in the student center. The committee will then pick three of their favorite designs, and after they conduct interviews they will narrow it down to one favorite.
The committee, or the evaluation team, is composed of Eltink, Corbin Smyth Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Life, Pat Keenan from Student Life Operations, John Kessler from Facilities Management, and two students Taylor Glynn and Sean Finn.
Eltink said they did not tell any of the designers their ideas because they are interested in seeing what they come up with by themselves.
“The designers have to create a proposal not for the committee but for the students. This is a student project,” Smyth said. “They should look at it as not winning a design contest but winning student satisfaction.”
Come Jan. 17 the committee will know the design and begin step one of this renovation. The discussion of implementing a new student center has long been on the agenda, but the committee met for the first time to discuss this much-needed renovation three years ago.
“We see it as a way to freshen up things for current students,” Smyth said. “This is phase one of the project.
This 1.5 million dollar project is mostly being funded through student service fees, which are fees every student of UMD must pay to attend the university. These fees typically go towards enhancing the students’ experiences by providing money to organizations to put on events or campus updates. Facilities Management is also helping the committee find grants to makethe renovation possible.
“It will be exciting to see the space come apart in pieces during the spring and come back and see the end product,” Eltink said.
BY SHANNON KINLEY