The Master Plan Committee Tours the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M…

Students from the master plan committee went on a roadtrip Friday to visit the new Memorial Student Center (MSC) at Texas A&M University in College Station. The MSC is still mostly under construction, but the group got an inside peek at what the spaces are going to look like and how A&M students and the architects worked together to capture the campus’ spirit and traditions throughout the building. The MSC is also a renovation and expansion, much like what our University Union project might be like as well. It was interesting to see how the architects worked with the students to come up with creative ways to tie the two areas together in a cohesive way. This means that the MSC provides a seamless, yet, timeless feel throughout the whole facility and will the designs will be relevant for many years to come. Some of the neatest features of the MSC was the innovative use of student organization space, featuring several small offices and walls of large locker spaces for storage. The student organization space was also accessible from the outside, allowing groups to be able to enter after hours if needed. There was lots of dedicated student lounge spaces, places for students to relax and reflect or study and hang out. With a campus of more than 50,000 students, the MSC has done a great job of making sure to take care of everyone. In addition, the MSC pays great tribute to its veterans and rich military history. Athletics were a prominent feature of the building, including a special “Twelfth Man Hall” and many other A&M specific monikers.

One of the challenges that the MSC faced with the renovation was the need for expanded natural light. Again, another similarity to our University Union! A&M and the architects did a great job opening up new lightwells that bring in extra open light. The natural light was all throughout the facility, not just on the walls or in a courtyard space. Students worked really closely with the architects to provide ideas for unique branding and “out of the box” ideas for the MSC, including a enclosed Spanish-style courtyard featuring trees and fountains (12 of course!) The banquet halls and meeting rooms were large and expansive enough to accommodate all different sized groups and receptions. Technology was integrated throughout, including wiring for flat screens, monitors, security, and more. Everything that a student would need to have a successful banquet, organization meeting, or special lecture could be found in each room.

Though the spaces weren’t furnished yet, UNT students got to visit the dining facility within the MSC which will include a Mexican restaurant, Panda Express, and a pizza station. The dining facilities were also adjacent to retail spaces and the bookstore. Two large student art galleries were nearby as well.

The next opportunity for students to meet and talk with the architects for our University Union and the architects that designed the MSC at A&M will be on December 5 and 6th. Stay tuned for photos from the A&M trip and watch out for more information about your Union!

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