Phase one of DUC renovations to be complete by the fall semester

Jackson French

The fall semester marks another set of dramatic changes for the Downing University Center renovations.

Bryan Russell, director of Planning, Design and Construction, said the Fresh Food Company will move from its location in Topper Café on South Lawn back to DUC.

He also said other new features for DUC that will be ready by the start of the fall semester include a WKU Store on the ground floor, a Starbucks and a balcony overlooking the Avenue of Champions.

“It is a full-blown Starbucks with outside balcony,” he said.

Though DUC is gaining Fresh Food Company, it will lose RedZone and its food court.

During the fall semester, Chick-fil-A, RedZone, Izzi’s and the other restaurants that occupied DUC will relocate to the temporary building on South Lawn that housed Topper Café this school year.

Russell said the DUC renovations are being made in two phases.

The construction of the Starbucks, Fresh and the WKU Store are all part of phase one, which is primarily focused on the side of the building that faces the Avenue of Champions and is scheduled to be complete prior to the start of the 2013 fall semester.

“The construction that’s going on is predominantly phase one work, but also they have also been able to start early on a lot of the things, and the second and third floor,” he said.

Phase two, which PDC’s Assistant Director Ben Johnson said will take place mostly over this school year, includes the construction of Night Class, a 24-hour study hall and a recreation area, as well as renovations to the food court.

The second phase mainly deals with renovations to the side of DUC facing Minton Hall, as well as the second and third floors of the building.

This phase also includes the construction of offices for the Student Government Association on the second floor, a new grand staircase and a skylight in the building’s common area.

“One of the nice things is we’ll have three high-speed elevators that will be installed in the building which is a real plus,” Russell said. “Obviously, you’re not going to be able to utilize them except for the ground to the first, but I think those are to be installed.”

The auditorium on the first floor of DUC and the Learning Center on the second floor will remain open.

Johnson said he expects the second phase of the DUC renovations to be finished before the start of the 2014 fall semester.

During that time, the second and third floors, as well as the side of DUC that faces Minton Hall, will be under construction.

Once the renovations are complete, Johnson said, “Topper Café will be taken down and South Lawn will be returned to its previous open condition for green space.”