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Union expansion nears completion
By Ieva Augstums
This fall, University of Nebraska
Lincoln students will have aS13.5
million, new and improved Nebraska
Union waiting at their footsteps.
Jackhammers, bulldozers and
dust took over Nebraska Union in fall
1996 with the goal to construct a new
student union by fall 1998.
“It has been over three years since
initial project planning began on the
union,” Nebraska Union Director
Daryl Swanson said. “The finished
project is almost right in front of us.”
Swanson said incoming UNL stu
dents couldn’t have timed their
arrival to the university any better.
“The timing is good,” Swanson
said. “It has been said that the first
month of school is a blur. Plus, it is
better for new students to see the later
stages of construction.”
Larry Blake, Nebraska Union
project manager, agreed.
“A lot of tilings happen in the end,”
Blake said. “Everything somehow
comes together the way you planned.”
Swanson said most areas of the
union - the plaza, north entrance, art
exhibit room, Student Involvement
Offices, recreation room, big screen
TV lounge, other lounge and food
court dining space - should be acces
sible and in use by the fall.
Central construction, however,
will be completed in mid-fall, he said.
The expansion and renovation
project will add 55,000 square feet of
new space and renovate 66,000
square feet of the existing union
structure, he said.
Brad Muehling, Nebraska Union
assistant project manager said the
information desk on the first floor
would relocate during the summer,
and a portion of the lounge will
remain open for student use.
In the fall, the information desk
will relocate to the right of the new
north entrance and a secured art
lounge and exhibit room will be to the
left of the entrance, he said.
“We don’t want to discourage stu
dents from using (the union),” Blake
said. “But just as it has been, con
struction will still be going on.”
The Copy Center, presently locat
ed in the University Bookstore, will
relocate from the basement to the first
floor to compliment an expanded 24
hour computer lab. The computer lab
will be accessible from inside the
union during normal hours, as well as
through a west entrance after hours.
The second floor will feature a
balcony which will overlook the
plaza, fountain and greenspace. The
new plaza, located outside of the
north entrance, will remain die same
size as the former Broyhill Plaza,
which was demolished in January
1997. A new water feature will
replace the old fountain. Swanson
said the new water feature will still be
known as Broyhill Fountain.
The rapid increase of student
enrollment is the main reason for the
union expansion, Swanson said.
When the union was first built in 1938
there were 5,752 students attending
UNL. After a renovation in 1958,
there were 8,356 students. Ten years
later, after the union’s second renova
tion, there were 19,618 students.
“I cannot say that we never will
need another expansion of die union,”
Swanson said. “It all depends on the
students and their wants and needs.”
Cover photo by
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Professional Advisor Don Walton, 473-7301
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