University Center renovation and expansion being explored

The Whitten University Center [UC] is a place for recreational opportunities, relaxation, food services, meeting rooms, outdoor gathering places and ATMs, among other things. Most students pass this building everyday on their way to class.
Currently, the UC is in the first stages of planning for an expansion and renovation. Students, staff and faculty have already had an opportunity to participate in on-line surveys and focus groups with consultants from Brailsford and Dunlavey, the firm which was instrumental in the planning for the Wellness Center ten years ago.
“Results of those UC surveys and focus groups will be a starting point for further analysis and planning,” Walker said. “We want to make sure that students, alumni, faculty, and staff all have a chance to help define the future of this important facility.”
“Over the years, students and staff have been very creative in adapting spaces built for the 60s to the needs of the 80s, 90s and today, but there is a limit to what can be done,” Dan Westbrook, associate director for the UC, said. “The UC is past due for a review of its services and facilities, and we are really looking forward to this opportunity to work together in planning a modern student center.”
During this summer, the consultants presented their findings to UM administration. Their report emphasized comparisons between the UC and student unions on other campuses, as well as defining unique needs for this campus as determined by the surveys and focus groups.
Currently, the most critical needs are being identified, and once that is established, architects will work together with UM to identify the best ways – renovations, additions, or new construction – to address the campus community’s requirements.
“It promises to be an exciting time,” Westbrook said. “Major construction and renovation usually only happens every 30 or 40 years, so the students and staff who collaborate on this project will truly have contributed something special to UM.”
Currently, the UC is home to the Force Five Convenience Store [C-Store] and the Storm Surge Caf