Renovations mark new era

Upon returning to campus last fall, students discovered something new: the University Center’s (UC) second floor International Lounge had a small addition, or rather, a big one: a 2,500 square foot white storage box, easily the size of a one-bedroom apartment. Inside were swivel chairs turned on their wheels, tables, boxes and a mess of other office items. On the other side of the floor, the first hallway’s rooms had been stripped of flooring, paper ceiling and paint.

The UC was being renovated, and students and faculty who normally used the office space were forced to relocate.

Fast-forward to this summer, and the UC is once again undergoing major renovations. Continuing last summer’s plans to replace all windows with hurricane proof glass, the UC is now being redecorated inside. According to Dan Westbrook, director of the UC,  “it is a complete renovation of the first and second floor lounges,” with new furniture, flooring, ceiling and wall treatments. The outside wall also be repainted, and the pool deck is being stripped for new pavement. Some of the upstairs meeting rooms, which are used by clubs and organizations, are being reconfigured as well. They will have smart room capability, with LCD projectors and screens built into the rooms. The biggest change, however, will be the Rathskeller’s move to the UC from its former location by the lake, where the new Student Activities Center will be built.

“I’m very excited about this Rathskeller move… It’s really going to look sharp,” said Westbrook.

The Rat will be open until midnight, ready for students looking for a late-night snack. An affordable dry cleaner will also be added to the UC, which is set for installation July 1. They will also provide wash and fold services for students.

For now, plans are moving steadily with hopes that the changes will be finished by the time of students’ return to campus.

“Our target deadline is Aug. 15, but realistically there are things that are out of our control,” Westbrook said.