What you could see in a renovated DUC

Mike Stunson

Nine members of Student Government Association, as well as WKU administrators and architects, visited seven universities’ student centers last week. They received information for potential renovations to Downing University Center.

Based on a presentation by Jeff Stivers, head architect for the project, here’s some high and low points of the tour.

Ohio State

Stivers called this student center “the mothership.”

He said that though the student center for Ohio State was a bigger project than what WKU needs, the group took away ideas for branding a renovated DUC.

“Every space we went into in this building was Ohio State-specific, and I think that’s something we appreciated,” Stivers said.

The floors, door handles and even stairs are branded with Ohio State’s name. The student center also had a diner open 22 hours a day that SGA members said they liked.


SGA President Colton Jessie said he didn’t like the “convention center” feel of Cincinnati’s student center.

Students said their center did not mesh with what they’re trying to do with DUC, because Cincinnati is much more of a commuter school than WKU is.

Stivers also said architects can use Cincinnati’s student center as a model of what not to do in some cases — such as casing much of the building in concrete that can’t be worked on later.


Stivers said WKU can associate with the architecture of Ohio’s student center.

“It was a much more inviting place,” Stivers said.

Jessie believed Ohio’s student center is close to what they were looking for. The building has similar structure to much of what’s being built at WKU, with columns and brick.

“This one is the first one I’ve seen where that kind of style would fit WKU if we were to move forward and do something like that,” Jessie said.

Ohio Dominican

ODU’s campus is much smaller than WKU, so the student center didn’t compare to DUC, but Administrative Vice President Wade Pierce said their student center was the first to tell a story.

SGA members especially liked ODU’s wall of history.

“It was not only a place to congregate, but it tells the story of the university,” Pierce said.

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Stivers said IUPUI’s student center had an “airport terminal look to it.”

One concept Jessie did like was a room that had desks for student organizations that was right next to IUPUI’s SGA office.

“You kind of form a better community and better communication between other student organizations on campus,” he said.

Northern Kentucky

“(NKU) put us to shame with a lot of the things we have here and changed my opinion on DUC as it is now,” senator Nathan Bishop told SGA on Tuesday.

NKU featured a multi-purpose room that includes a lounge and gaming space that many of the students enjoyed.

Bishop said NKU’s gaming setup was used more than WKU’s and “engendered a lot of conversation between those of us in the room.”

Ball Sate

Jessie said this newly-renovated student center had a hospital-like feel to it.

“I literally felt like I was at the Medical Center in Bowling Green,” he said.

He also did not like how the renovated parts of the building did not mesh well with the rest of the building.

“You could definitely tell what was the old Ball State student center and what was the new Ball State student center,” Jessie said. “If we renovate DUC, I definitely want it to be seamless.”