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New student union project
New student union project
Why do we need a new student union?
Only 5.6% of students say Kehr Union Building meets all their needs, according to a Student Engagement Survey, completed during the Spring Semester 2016 by an independent architectural firm. Other key findings:
- 42% of students felt there was adequate space to support student organizations
- 93.8 % of students think student focused social spaces are important and 81.4% think a student union is important
- 80.5% had a negative opinion of Kehr Union Building
- Only 1.6% indicated they went to the student union between classes or to hang out, another 8.3% in the Husky Lounge
A Student Union Mini Master Plan was completed in February 2012, indicating that a new Student Union was needed and at the location of the Warren Student Services Center. A university Campus Master Plan was completed in February 2014, with the same conclusion.
What will be included?
- Large social lounge (Fireside Lounge) with coffee shop
- Study spaces
- Large computer lab
- Game room
- Food court
- Student organization storage, offices, and meeting rooms
- Large multipurpose rooms and ballroom
- 20-30 meeting rooms of various sizes that hold 10-50 people
- CGA and Community Activities offices
- Other student-related offices and space
Why not remodel the Kehr Union Building? — Both master plans and the Student Engagement Survey indicated that the Kehr Union Building has serious operational issues and building a new student union is more cost effective and functional than remodeling. Some concerns were location on campus, lack of space on the existing site, cost of remodeling vs. building new, and remodeling will not eliminate certain issues with the building.
Student Union as the heart of campus — The proposed new student union will be built centrally on campus at the present site of the Warren Student Services Building. The new building will provide space and facilities that enhance the out-of-classroom experiences that are hallmarks of a Bloomsburg education. The design and functions of the building will encourage students and the campus community to utilize the building as a gathering and socializing hub and allow for dynamic programming. The location provides lower campus, upper campus, town, and commuting students a facility ideally located in the center of campus and close to parking, housing, and other student support services.
When will the building be built? — If approved, the building will open during the 2024-2025 academic year.
Why start the fee now, rather than 2024? — A reserve needs to be established to help defray costs of the new building such as planning and design. In the event of emergency facility failures in the Kehr Union Building, like heating and cooling systems, or a roof repair or replacement, the reserve funds are used to complete those repairs.
Did we have a Student Union Building Fee before? — Prior to academic year 2011-2012, Bloomsburg University’s student fee structure included two fees to support the student union function:
- Student Union Building Fee — Pays debt service on the building (like a mortgage)
- Student Union Operation Fee — Pays day-to-day operational costs
At the conclusion of the 2010-2011 academic year, the outstanding debt on the Kehr Union Building was paid in full. Therefore, the $60/semester Student Union Building Fee that funded the debt payments was eliminated. While there have been modest increases to the Student Union Operations Fee, the resources generated by this fee do not adequately allow for the upkeep, renovation, or replacement of the current building.
Cost of new building — The building in the renderings is based on needs identified by students through the plans and surveys mentioned earlier. The estimated total cost of that building is $75,000,000. The cost impact to students is not known at this time.
Why do we need a fee for a new student union? — According to State System policy, student unions, student recreation centers, dining facilities, and residence halls must be funded by dedicated student fees. Tuition and state appropriations cannot be used for these buildings. Kehr Union, the Student Recreation Center, the residence halls and apartments, and Monty’s all were built with fees paid by former students.
What about the Student Success Fee? — The Student Success Fee is used to maintain or enhance student academic support services, experiential learning opportunities, and other initiatives that contribute to student success, such as tutoring and retention activities. This fee began in Fall 2016.
How do our fees compare with other State System schools? — Bloomsburg University has a moderately priced mandatory fee structure when compared to other schools in the State System.
Will the new Student Union look just like the drawings around campus? — Not necessarily. Initial student feedback drew a lot of excitement for the conceptual drawings, but the final building will be a result of an additional design process involving students and the rest of the campus community. While the internal space uses of the building are not expected to change substantially, the drawings are concepts used to show what a new building could look like. This is much like looking at a concept car at an auto show; the actual car is never exactly the same.
What is the history of Kehr Union Building? — The current Student Union was built in 1972. Enrollment was 5,053 students. A major renovation and addition in 1994 reconfigured the building and added the Husky Lounge, Ballroom, Fireside Lounge, and the Multi-Purpose Rooms. Enrollment was 7,277. In 2015, the building was again renovated to increase student gathering spaces by eliminating a conference room and remodeling the Husky Lounge. In the Student Engagement Survey, 93.9% of students have a positive opinion of that renovation. Enrollment in 2015 was 9,777.
What happens if this fee isn’t approved? — The university will not be able to make enhancements to the current building, nor have funding available to plan for a potential new student union building. Finally, it could impact any needed repairs to the building.
How can I learn more?
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