A Look at OSU’s Student Union Renovation Project: Similarities to UNT’s Union Master Plan Project

My younger brother is currently attending Oklahoma State University. This renowned institution is comprised of a colossal amount of pride, and nearly every area of the campus reflects that in some way or another. I have seen the campus and researched OSU’s current Student Union. Like UNT’s Master Plan Project, OSU is, at the moment, refining a new project to expand its Student Union. The similarities between UNT’s University Union plans and OSU’s project are undeniable. However, I believe that it is the sense of community and commonality that bonds students to their campus.

Below are the reasons and objectives for the renovations of the OSU Student Union (as stated on OSU’s Project webpage):

Current Student Union Physical Environment  
Doesn’t meet contemporary student needs  
Bookstore is small and inconvenient  
Food options are not viewed positively  
Building accessibility issues  
Mechanical systems are inefficient  
Use of space is inefficient  
Doesn’t offer students adequate gathering space  
Project Priorities
Address aging infrastructure
Secure economic engine by improving Bookstore and dining spaces
Improve and enhance student spaces (e.g., Campus Life, lounges/casual spaces, programming spaces, etc.)
Address facility traffic flow and space allocation
Update aging look of meeting rooms, programming spaces and offices
Maintain the building’s legacy
       

These issues and plans are very much alike that of UNT’s University Union Master Plan. One major difference between the two is that UNT’s current building and construction are in association with the latest sustainability in construction technology. UNT is surely becoming a pioneer of this technology as sustainability in construction is taken into consideration with each renovation of its facilities. However, the mission and objectives of the two University’s plans are nearly identical: to adapt to the growing and ever-changing community. Their intentions are to benefit and enhance each student’s college experience.

About the Union Master Plan: (as stated on the Master Plan webpage)

“The Union Master Plan is an effort to review the needs of the UNT campus community in order to best serve them through programs and services that are offered in their University Union. Currently, this building is not able to completely meet those needs because of space and structural limitations. This building was built in the 1970’s to serve a student population of around 17,000 students. The UNT Denton campus has grown to almost 40,000 students since then, while more than 2.5 million people visit the University Union each year. A group of students, faculty, and staff have been invited to represent the campus community during this process. They will provide necessary feedback in order for us to better gauge and meet your needs. We believe in being 100% transparent during this process, and it is our hope that this website will be able to provide you with the critical answers to the questions that you may have.”

The objectives of the two plans revolve around the idea of campus community. Both intend to meet the needs of their ever-changing communities. Community and commonality are things that must be developed over time. UNT’s University Union is only one player on the team. The entire institution must band together and plan to develop a sheer and absolute sense of community by coordinating efforts to produce and maintain pride and spirit at UNT.

To learn more about OSU’s renovation, visit:

http://union.okstate.edu/renovation/

See how it compares to our own University Union Master Plan Project!

http://union.unt.edu/masterplan/index.php