On Tuesday, Nov. 3, Sykes hosted an open forum to discuss the Sykes Student Union remodel feasibility study. WTW architects, Derek Eversmann and Paul Knell, presented on the huge remodel and took questions and answers from the audience.
The new remodel could take up to five years to get approved by the county and another year or two to build.
The WTW project manager declined to put an exact number on the cost of the project, but he conceded that it would be costly. He attributed much of that to the additionally proposed parking garage that would be a part of the remodel.
Sykes would likely remain open while remodeling, as they would remodel only parts of the building at a time.
Eversmann said jokingly, “The site is going to be a mess. Union Directors will talk about the years that they lived in dust.”
The remodel has been in the works since last spring and is now in the “refinement phase,” Eversmann explained. From a campus-wide survey, the architecture firm and Sykes executives determined what the priorities in the remodeled Sykes should be.
The proposed remodel will increase the size of the student union from approximately 9,000 square feet to around 15,000 square feet.
All parts of the plan are tentative for now and are subject to change.
The ground floor would feature part of the new, two-story dining facility. This new facility would have a redesign which emphasized visible food preparation. There would also be a new Grab and Go convenience shop, a larger lounge space, and a new computer lounge.
The media groups on campus–The Quad, Serpentine Yearbook, WCUR, and WCU Studios–would be in a new, combined media office. This would likely be a decrease on space for the organizations, but could, in theory, promote collaboration.
The theater would also be increased and improved. The meeting rooms would be opened up to create more public spaces, and there would be no private meeting rooms on the ground floor.
The first floor would also feature the two-story dining area. The dining area would double as a gaming area with TVs, ping pongs tables, and more.
A part of the remodel would include the elimination of almost all private student organization offices and the creation of a new, collaborative Student Life Center.
There would be a new lounge, approximately the size of the current ballroom. In addition, the new plans feature a large café.
The second floor would become home to a far larger ballroom for the student union.
Administration would have offices upstairs.
There are also plans for a multi-purpose room, a pre-function room, a roof patio, storage, a pantry, and three meeting rooms that are over 1,000 square feet.
The other meeting rooms would have improved technology. One feature would be to have the hardwood floors in one of the meeting rooms double as a dance space.
The third floor would feature a meditation suite. Eversmann explained that, in many schools, these are great places for Muslim students to pray. There would be, however, no religious symbolism in it.
There would also be a quiet lounge, the existing Frederick Douglass Lounge, and quiet meeting rooms.
During the question and answer period of the open forum, students raised concerns about the elimination of private offices for student organization, the increase in size for the university bookstore, and more.
Theresa Kelly is a fourth-year student majoring in English literature secondary education. She can be reached at TK780615@wcupa.edu.