University Centers expansion back on track

    The University Centers expansion and renovation, a project increasing the size of both Student Center and Price Center, is progressing according to schedule despite weather setbacks, according to construction officials.

    Jason Campa
    Building foundations:

    “The construction contractor is making up time after a wet winter,” University Centers Director Gary R. Ratcliff stated in an e-mail.

    Expansion on Student Center broke ground last fall, beginning the first phase of a two-part project. Phase one is expected to finish, as planned, within the months of October and November of this year, according to Ratcliff.

    The first part of the project entails the construction of 13,000 square feet of facilities including dining, seating, lounge space, a restaurant and new locations for the Women’s Center and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center.

    The second phase, scheduled to begin in spring 2006, includes construction within Stduent Center itself and renovations of mainly current buildings, including the General Store Co-op and the Food Co-op.

    “A lot of what’s going to be happening is that Student Center is going to get a sort of facelift,” University Centers Advisory Board Chair Jared Feldman said.

    UCAB plans to install a Thai restaurant in the Student Center expansion, picked based on past surveys that revealed a student preference for Thai food.

    A specific Thai restaurant has not been decided on, although four unspecified restaurants have submitted proposals, according to Ratcliff.

    Restaurants are currently being evaluated on factors such as a proposed menu, pricing, service format, experience and financial resources, Ratcliff stated.

    “The selection could occur as early as next week,” Ratcliff said.

    As with Student Center expansion, UCAB members are gathering student input through an online survey to decide what restaurants will be housed in additions to Price Center.

    An adjunction of eight food facilities to the center will be completed by December 2007, according to Ratcliff.

    More than 3,000 students, faculty and staff responded to a survey concerning food preferences, he said.

    UCAB will analyze survey results over the next few months in order to decide what types of food to include in the Price Center project.

    Despite initial concerns of delay, expansion around the Price Center complex is still scheduled to begin in January 2006, as originally predicted.

    “There seemed to have been a lot of hype about the weather causing problems with the construction, but we’re still scheduled for October,” former UCAB Chair Jessica Kort said. “Aside from any unforeseen difficulties that may occur in the next few months, as far as I can see it’s going well.”

    The expansion and renovation of University Centers is being paid for partly by a $39 fee charged to each student every quarter, which was approved by students in a spring 2003 referendum.

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