The UC is—yes!—finally getting a makeover.
By Amy Vames
Senior Andy Benavides knows that the University Center, where he works at the main desk, has seen better days. But he was finally convinced the facility needed work when he heard a squirrel scrambling around in the ceiling over his head. “This building is old,” says Benavides, an econ major. “The university is growing, and it’s time we got something more fitting.”
The university won’t argue with that. “The UC is not adequate when compared with peer institutions,” says Michael Kopas, director of special projects. “From a student comfort perspective, from a retention and recruitment perspective, this project is necessary.” So in May 2011, a yearlong, largely privately funded renovation—the first significant rehab since the UC opened in the late 1950s—is slated to begin, says Kopas. The project, with Princeton-based KSS Architects LLP, is expected to cost approximately $12 million.
The still-evolving plans also call for a radical and highly flexible reconfiguration of the space: The snack bar expands and moves out front, where the pool tables are now; the bookstore moves to the Commons to make way for a new lounge with a fireplace (sweet!); and student meeting space shifts back to the area vacated by the snack bar. The Pub will take over a larger space, the bookstore’s current back office.