DSU renovation reaches final phase, opening in August

Trey Crumbie

The renovation of Downing Student Union continued uninterrupted over winter break.

Dan Chaney, project manager of capital construction, said the renovation process is in its second and final phase before completion. 

Cold temperatures and snowy weather didn’t hinder the DSU renovations over the winter break, Chaney said.

“We didn’t have any damage at all from the cold spell,” Chaney said. “We were able to press on.”

Chaney said although workers did not do masonry work on snowy days, the cold did not impede progress as days with bad weather were planned for in advance. 

“It would take several days in a row to cause a schedule delay,” Chaney said.

Chaney said the number of workers varies depending on the task that needs to be done on a certain day.

“We average over 100,” Chaney said. “There have been as many as 150.”

Last October, maggots were found in the loading docks of DSU. The maggots were attracted by a leak in a food compactor used by the Fresh Food Company. Chaney said the compactor has been replaced.

“We haven’t seen any issues since,” Chaney said.

Chaney said much progress was made within the interior of the building during the break, especially with the lobby area and a grand entry stairway on the side of the building that faces Avenue of Champions.

Chaney said the Career Services Center will move into a new space, located on the second floor of DSU, at the end of the month. Career Services will be open once the move is complete.

Chaney said new features of the renovated DSU will include a 24-hour study lounge, an updated recreational area featuring video game consoles, and an extra entrance for the WKU Store. The additional entrance will enable the store to be open even if the rest of DSU is closed.

“That’s a nice new feature,” Chaney said.

Bryan Russell, director of Planning, Design and Construction, said DSU will contain an open space that will allow students on the first, second and third floors to see each other. Russell said this will help with the overall openness of the building.

“You’ll be able to see a lot more student activity going on within the building by this open space,” Russell said.  “I think that’s a real plus for a building.”

Chaney said there is still much to do before the renovation is complete.

“The entire third floor, which is all meeting rooms, is being worked on,” Chaney said. “The entire second floor is as well.”

Russell said when the building is completed there will be examples of ‘branding’ throughout DSU: various aspects of the building that are unique to WKU. As an example, Russell said there will be tabletops in some areas that will be covered with WKU memorabilia, such as pieces from the bowling alley floors that were saved prior to renovation.

Russell said this was done to preserve tradition.

“All of us older timers took bowling to get an ‘A,’” Russell said.

DSU is expected to be open on Aug. 15 of this year.