Union Underground completes restroom renovations


Kyle Etzel

The foot wash station is inside the Union Underground’s newly renovated family restroom. Senne Company, Inc. completed the work in March.

Upgrades to the Union Underground’s restrooms finished last month in March over spring break.

Mismatched sinks, low features and a strange wall in the women’s restroom are now gone.

Over the past years, remodeling the Memorial Union has focused on areas besides the Underground bathrooms, which were original from the addition attached to Memorial Union five decades ago, and remained a continuous afterthought.

Due to changes affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Facility Services’ budget and schedule opened, allowing the restrooms to be tended to.

The demolition process began over winter break 2021-2022 when the unsightly plastic drapes were installed by Senne Company, Inc., which completed the renovation earlier this semester. They served more than to separate a work zone from a safe public area, because they also abated the transference of dust throughout the Underground.

Construction Project Coordinator Tamara Hampton of Washburn Facility Services was part of the design team. Hampton explained that there were many options available to consider as part of the bigger plans regarding Memorial Union remodels. The final layout reflects how the space available can serve the most and be more inclusive.

“The women’s restroom was made bigger. The stalls were widened, and are more accessible,” Hampton said.

They also now include plug-in outlets in the stalls with mothers in mind since there is currently not a designated pumping room in the Union.

“It’s not ideal, but if you got to, you got to,” said Becky Bolte, director of the Memorial Union. “The option we went with gives us more opportunity. And in one of them, we put in a foot wash.”

In several religious faiths, it is common for people to wash their hands, face and lower legs before prayer or focused meditation. This was possible before in a regular sink, but with the inclusion of this fixture incorporated into the plumbing, along with a seat, it makes this all more convenient to do so.

The foot wash station is not meant to be used to wash boots or other wear during weather conditions, and that the showers in the SRWC are for further washing.

A men’s restroom remains directly above on the main level of the Memorial Union, between Washburn A/B and the Market.

Edited by: Glorianna Noland, Kyle Manthe