Committee talks study space, WKU Store in DUC renovations

Mike Stunson

Progress has continued in planning renovations to Downing University Center.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the DUC Renovations Committee — composed of Student Government Association members, WKU administrators and architects — decided DUC’s 24-hour study area will be built on an area of the second floor that’s now walled off.

“They will open that up there and there will be more of a connection,” said SGA President-elect Billy Stephens, who serves on the committee.

Campus Improvements Chairperson Kaylee Egerer said it was SGA’s plan all along to put the study area on the second floor.

“The study space has always been the most important part of the renovation,” Egerer said. “We think the second floor is the perfect spot for it.”

Though the committee has discussed at length specifics about the renovations, nothing is finalized.

Renovations are still expected to begin in the fall and take 18-24 months. They’re being paid for by a combination of university auxiliary money and a $70 per semester student fee.

Egerer said the WKU Store will be moved to the first floor near Subway and be accessible from outside.

“The WKU Store should look a whole lot nicer,” Egerer said. “It will be all windows and will be in the perfect spot with parking next door.”

SGA President Colton Jessie said he hopes more decisions will be finalized before he moves to Chicago in June.

Egerer said dining hours in a renovated DUC haven’t been decided upon. She said students can expect later hours at Red Zone as well as a place to get coffee 24 hours a day.

Stephens said progress has also been made on adding more parking and windows.

“It is going to look a whole lot nicer,” he said. “It will be a totally different building.”

Jeff Stivers, head architect for the project, has shown the committee sketches of the blueprints at each of the committee meetings.

“The sketches look great,” Stephens said. “And if we don’t like something, they will start over for us.”

During winter break, SGA representatives traveled to other colleges to look at their student centers. Egerer said the committee is still using those ideas, most notably Ohio State University’s branding.

“They were very big on branding there,” she said. “That is probably the biggest thing we are trying to incorporate during for the renovations.”