First floor of DUC vacated for start of construction

Students looking to grab a quick lunch from Subway or replace their student IDs were in for a surprise when they returned from spring break.

The first floor of the Downing University Center has temporarily shut down as renovation pre-project construction is set to begin next week.

The $49 million DUC renovation, which is being partially funded through a $70-per-semester student fee, is expected to be completed in July 2014.

Bryan Russell, director of Planning, Design and Construction, said two bid packages for the construction project have been awarded and contractors are set to start work Monday.

The two bid packages are for selective demolitions of the first and fourth floors and for site utilities for the Avenue of Champions side of the building.

Russell said a section of the Avenue of Champions in front of DUC will be shut down with a construction fence for a couple of months while the utilities are relocated to that side of the building.

“It’s going to a be a fairly substantial tunnel put there, and I think there’s going to be sections of it that have to be dug about 16, 20 feet deep,” Russell said.

As PDC plans for construction to begin, offices formerly located on the first floor have been moved to temporary homes.

The Student Government Association has moved its office from the ground floor to DUC 310.

In the fall, the entire Student Activities Office, including SGA, will move into the Cravens Graduate Center and Library. The Student Activities Office is currently on the third floor of DUC.

SGA President Billy Stephens said SGA moved to the third floor so that it could remain with the rest of Student Activities until renovations begin on the third floor.

“We can move out with them, be with them for the whole year and stick with them until we get re-moved back into DUC,” Stephens said.

The WKU Store has started the process of moving to its new location in the Garrett Conference Center Ballroom, but their last day in DUC won’t be until April 6.

 Shawna Cawthorn, director of the WKU Store, said after the store in DUC closes, the store in Garrett will open on April 17.

But there will be another location for the bookstore aside from the store in Garrett.

“We’re going to have one portion of our store out on Nashville Road, and that’s primarily going to be spirit wear, clothes, gifts — things like that — it won’t have any text books or any kind of educational supplies.”

The store on Nashville Road opens March 26. Cawthorn said both locations will be buying back textbooks.

The SIFE Print Center also moved from the ground floor of DUC. The print center is now located in Garrett Conference Center in room 100A, which they share with Postal Services.

Tia Ackzien, director of Postal Services, said the moving process was very smooth.

The center has taken measures to get the word out about their new location — sending out a campus-wide email, using Facebook and placing a banner in the window of the old office in DUC.

 Ackzien said she thinks the new location won’t be difficult for students to find.

“It’s, you know, right at the top of the Hill,” Ackzien said. “Right above the Garrett Food Court so it’s very accessible to students.”

Tim Colley, district manager for Aramark, said WKU Dining Services now has its main office — which was on the ground floor of DUC — in Garrett. This space housed the catering offices, which have now moved to the Carroll Knicely Conference Center. Colley said there were signs in DUC and an ad in the Herald to inform students about the new office locations.

Colley said because the DUC Subway is now closed, the Garrett Subway has extended hours. There will also be more deli options in Fresh Food Company.

 The Garrett Subway will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and from 10:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Construction on the Subway that will be next to The Bate Shop in the ground floor of Bates-Runner Hall has just started and will be completed by the fall semester.

Russell said construction for Phase One of the project will begin in May after commencement is complete.