Student Center renovation design plans to develop in May

By Drew Teague

The Student Center will be revamped for the first time since 1982 with improvements beginning shortly after the semester ends.

The Board of Trustees recently approved $23 million worth of renovations to the UK Student Center, focusing on the infrastructure of the building.

John Herbst, director of the Student Center, said that the work on its infrastructure will help the building be better for students.

“We’ll be embarking in $23 million renovation, much of which will go to the repair, maintenance and upgrading of the infrastructure itself,” Herbst said. “That includes things like electrical, air handling, heating ventilation and air conditioning, sanitary and plumping supply lines — our communications infrastructure.”

With the work on the infrastructure, Herbst said they are going to take opportunities to make the building more aesthetically pleasing.

“But what we are hoping to do is, as we go into each of those, hopefully be able to capture opportunities to significantly improve the appearance of the building also,” Herbst said. “For example, when we go into replacing or repairing sanitary and plumbing, it only makes sense that we would totally redo the public restrooms within the facility.”

This is the first time since 1982 that the Student Center will be undergoing major construction, Herbst said.

Since then, minor renovations have been made to the building, including in places like the Cats Den and Center for Student Involvement, he said.

According to the tentative and preliminary schedule that the Board of Trustees was given as part of the request for proposal document, construction on the renovations is to begin on Dec. 6, 2011, and will last until early October 2012.

The design phase of the renovations will begin on May 9, 2011, the Monday after classes end.

Some dates have already been pushed back, Herbst said. He has made sure the contractor and architectural consultant, when hired, will be willing to listen to the students so they will be involved in many aspects of the renovations.

The remodel of the Student Center will add aesthetic and practical improvements to benefit student life on campus, said Herbst.

“I specifically have written in the request for proposals that we want an architect who will listen respectfully, analyze and be able to synthesize students needs, wants and desires into this entire process,” Herbst said. “I want to make sure that our consultant concentrates on the word ‘student’ when we talk about the Student Center.”

Herbst wants the project to be completed quickly, but he doesn’t want to compromise the quality.

“We want to make sure we do it right,” Herbst said.