OSU student center design takes shape

2011-03-28T03:00:00Z OSU student center design takes shapeBY GAIL COLE, Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
March 28, 2011 3:00 am  • 

Plans are flying for the Student Experience Center — Oregon State University’s new student activities building — a space that will house the student-run organizations now in Snell Hall.

During winter term, the 14-member space allocation and policy committee worked with Washington, D.C.-based consulting group Brailsford & Dunlavey to put together a space planning report for the contracted Portland-based Opsis Architecture.

Next, Opsis will put together three schematics of the different design options, and planners will allow both the student organizations and the campus at large to have a say on what parts of the mockups should be put together to create the new building. Rather than holding a referendum, a public design session will be held in the MU this spring.

“It’s more of an informal process but still very public,” said MU director Michael Henthorne.

The project’s remaining subcommittees will look at the building’s construction, student fee impact and the renovation of the MU’s east wing.

Sited for construction in the OSU Bookstore parking lot, the planned 64,000 square foot building is scheduled to open in the summer of 2013. Planners hope to design the building to meet energy gold standards set by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design criteria.

The Student Experience Center project includes a renovation of the MU’s east wing, where the OSU Bookstore is located, to turn the wing’s two floors into a multipurpose ballroom. Construction is set to begin once the new building is completed.

The OSU Bookstore’s lease of the east wing of the MU is up June 2014. Although they have not submitted a proposal to build a space on the first floor of the Parking Structure, located at Southwest 26th Street and Washington Way, Henthorne doesn’t think they are looking to move anywhere else but this space.

Students passed a referendum in May that approved a student fee increase to fund the new building. Beginning 2011, students will pay $48 a term to fund the building project. Students taking summer classes will pay a $36 fee.

State legislature bonds will fund the project, and planners hope to remain under $53 million for the new building and MU renovation projects; student fees will repay the bonds. The new building is funded by a 30-year bond and the MU east wing renovation is funded by a 20-year bond.

The new building will replace the seismically unsafe Snell Hall, also known as MU East. With the exception of Counseling and Psychological Services, the student fee-funded organizations currently housed in Snell will be moved to either the new building or the Memorial Union.

CAPS, now located on the fifth floor of Snell, does not have a space where it plans to move.

Henthorne said Snell Hall will not be demolished until the student organizations have moved into either the new building or elsewhere on campus.

Contact Gazette-Times higher education reporter Gail Cole at 541-758-9510 or at gail.cole@lee.net

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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