Union Master Plan Committee
Laura Horn, Assistant Co-Chair
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go and speak to the University of North Texas Systems Board of Regents meeting February 16-17. David Schuler, Jayleen Watson (both Co-Chairs), and I were asked to speak to the regents about student involvement in the Union Master Plan project. This was a really great opportunity. Students typically do not attend or speak at the Board of Regents.
David, Jayleen, and I piled into a lovely UNT hybrid car with Zane Reif. Zane is Union Director. We went to the UNT Dallas campus in south Dallas. The campus is gorgeous and newly constructed. We received a brief tour of the new facility. There is a wonderful green roof where students can go sit outside and enjoy a pretty day. The space can also be used for formal functions. Classrooms have overspill areas in the hallway. This is so if the class is in a discussion, but time is up, the teacher can move out into the hallway and finish the discussion there. In the hallway, there are tv screens with input options so teachers can plug in their presentations. Seeing the wonderful facility gave us hope for future projects on our own campus.
When it came time for the Union Master Plan to be presented to the board, nerves had started to set in. The purpose of our presentation was to be informative so at a future regents meeting the board can vote for or against. Dr. With introduced us to the board.
David spoke of how the architects have always been very accommodating to student needs. When the committee has had meetings, not all of our members are able to attend for the full time because of class. The architects will take students aside and go over the project with them so that way we are fully informed.
Jayleen spoke of how the administrative staff has been very understanding to student wants and needs. The administrative staff is great about listening to the wants and needs of the students. They consider our suggestions, and listen to our concerns.
I spoke of how the students really are impacting the design plan. In January at a workshop meeting, we were discussing the floor plans. I said that I did not think the proposed layout for the Lyceum would be good for traffic flow. I then suggested that we move the Lyceum to the south end of the building. The architects discussed it, and it was determined that this plan could actually work and be more beneficial. They then spent the entire night and the next morning drawing up new plans. Perkins+Will has been designing a building completely around what the students want and what will work best for students.
Overall, our speaking at the Board of Regents meeting went very well. The Chancellor of the university came up to us after the meeting and seemed excited about our progress. Now we are even closer to improving our campus.
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