Two weeks ago the Student Union Project Committee presented the Augustana Board of Trustees with two designs for the Student Union project.
The committee last updated the Board of Trustees in April when they selected Koch Hazard as the university’s design partner.
Ali Langseth, chair of the Student Union Project Committee, said, “Their overall understanding and approach to the Student Union project really demonstrated their vision of the Student Union being this new heart of Augustana’s campus.”
Since April, the committee has been working with Koch Hazard to refine their proposal into two viable designs.
“We worked with them to finalize that design and the costs associated with the design so that we could then put forth design option A and design option B,” Langseth said.
The designs will continue to change as members of the president’s cabinet gain feedback.
“Think about this first design as the first draft, the first proposal,” Pam Homan, vice president for advancement, said. “Architecturally, they continue to work on refining those designs.”
The Student Union acts as a part of President Herseth Sandlin’s AU 2030 vision. The cabinet will be conducting a feasibility study for that vision in the coming months.
“We visit with people, internal and external, to talk to them about the priority needs that we hope to accomplish,” Homan said. “It informs us whether or not we’ll be able to seek the philanthropic overall to fund that union.”
The cabinet recognizes the importance of a new and renovated Student Union just one piece of the AU 2030 plan.
“Within that plan, the one piece that’s pretty clear is the Student Union project,” Homan said.
The designs show more dining options, study spaces and a fitness center. The plans also add more office space.
The offices of admissions, financial aid, international programs and diversity and inclusion will be included in the new Student Union.
Logan Hattervig, chair of ASA Housing and Dining Committee, said the designs seem to focus on the workout facilities.
“It looks like they have a big concern, at least from what they must have gathered, in terms of facilities for working out,” Hattervig said.
Hattervig said study spaces should be more of a priority because of how many people use the library study rooms.
Hattervig prefers option B, the smaller and cheaper option.
“I think the more affordable plan is more reasonable in what Augustana actually needs,” Hattervig said. “The larger plan includes things such as three gyms. It’s an additional $8 million dollar investment in something that we don’t know if we need.”
Junior Challie Jones disagrees.
“I think that the biggest draw of the new addition would be the new exercise facility,” Jones said. “To redo the entire Commons and not include that seems like a waste of its purpose.”
The architect’s designs use April 2020 as the start date for construction. In the meantime, the cabinet will continue to gather feedback and support for the project.