New furniture coming to union

Dylan McManis

Over the past several weeks, several changes have been made to the lower level of Memorial Union in the interest of refreshing the union and making it more of a student-oriented place.

Using a pool of about $62,000 — $12,000 from student awarded renovation money and $50,000 built up from previous years of union savings — union director Becky Bolte and a group of a few others formed a committee to renovate and refresh the union.

“Our original task is that we’re starting to refresh the entire union,” Bolte said. “So once we had the money we wanted to start on the lower level, because it was the place that needs some life back into it. But we do plan to get new furniture throughout the union in the future. Part of the fund also went into repainting the union.

“We rewired and updated the electrical for the purpose of using USBs, so that you should be able to use USBs throughout the entire union. We changed the lighting, since it just didn’t fit the feel anymore, painted the pipes, changed the pipes and we have new furniture coming in this week. All of it in some form of Washburn blue or gray/silver.”

Bolte views the lower level as both a study space as well as an event space. The booths are handicap accessible and are fluid throughout the room. The area is meant to have a coffee shop feel, hoping to embody the new age of college students.

“We had to get the space ready for programming,” Bolte said. “CAB, SAGL and WSGA will all be sharing the space in the future for their various events. We even have space that we are keeping open down there, due to fire regulation constraints, so that we can even put buffet tables for certain events.”

Part of the events of the grand opening, which will take place on Jan. 29, is that the committee will be having a naming contest for the space.

“We wanted to get the furniture in place so that we started to have a feel for it,” Bolte said. “Once we know how it looks then we can start putting Washburn things on the walls and really liven up the space. We want students to be able to feel it and touch it before they put a name to it all. Once that’s done we can roll out when we will do the naming contest.

“My hope is that all of these renovations will convince everyone that we need to renovate the rest of the union and get new and better furniture, replacing our currently 15-year-old furniture. Before this year, the last time the union was renovated was when the LLC was built. We don’t want that sort of lapse to happen again.

“We want to have some of the history of the campus on the walls, but we also plan to have creative space for student art. It all depends on how the furniture looks and feels in the space.”

Bolte says that the furniture should be in place soon, and with the grand opening happening on Jan. 29 during Union Daze, there will certainly be plenty of new things to experience this semester at Washburn.