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Get Your Hands on Your Future
After being closed for 13 months, the “Open” sign was out Monday as the Memorial Student Center at University of Wisconsin-Stout officially reopened.
Students noticed. The reopening coincided with the first day of spring semester classes. Students were pouring into the building throughout the day to check out the new restaurants, expanded and redesigned lounge areas and other features, according to building director Darrin Witucki.
They were giving the changes a thumbs-up.
“It’s a vast improvement from the old MSC,” said Austin Leigh, a junior from Berlin majoring in business administration. “There’s a lot more open space and a lot of cool new features. A lot more students will use the building than they did before.”
Leigh was especially excited about many sustainable upgrades, including energy-saving lighting and windows and use of recycled materials in the renovation. Wood from the old bowling lanes, for example, was used to make benches and restaurant booths.
“Being eco-friendly — that’s what UW-Stout is all about,” he said.
Robyn Bunnell, a senior from New Glarus majoring in art with an interior design concentration, was impressed with the large open spaces compared to the old building. Two expanded entryways have glass panels that flood the east and west sides with natural light.
Bunnell noted improved lighting, interior design lines that match exterior aspects of the building and generally inviting décor throughout. “It’s really nice. More people will use it,” Bunnell said.
A student fee increase paid for the $19 million renovation (no taxpayer dollars were involved in the project).
Mallory Cina, a senior from Apple Valley, Minn., majoring in retail merchandising and management, already is planning to make good use of the lounge areas. The center has 10,000 square feet of lounge space; the old building had 2,500 square feet.
“I can see myself between classes with a coffee and my laptop,” she said. “There’s so much natural light.”
Camille Thorson, a senior from Edina, Minn., majoring in applied science with an environmental science concentration, is impressed with the bright new space on the first floor for the Involvement Center, which is next to the relocated Service Center and across the hall from the new Brew Devils coffee shop.
“The Involvement Center is more centralized and there’s more meeting space. I think we’ll get more students coming in,” she said.
Vinny VandenPlas, a junior from Green Bay majoring in technology education, likely summed up the feelings of many students regarding the renovation. “It’s a huge improvement over the old one. It’s a lot more user-friendly.”
Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen is pleased. “It was amazing to walk through the student center this morning and see all the excited students,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier with the results of the renovation.”
To see a related video on the reopening, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SXNoobhu2Q.