Renovations to the lower level of the Marvin Center this fall will add meeting areas for students, part of the University’s long-term plan to centralize campus services and create a student hub in the building.
The project – which could be completed as early as October – will add eight new meeting rooms and two student lounges.
“Marvin Center is looked at as the hub for students. There’s an ongoing effort for us to find opportunities to add to this,” Michael Peller, assistant vice president for events and venues, said.
Before construction began in August, the space contained a computer lab and a FedEx Kinkos until its contract with the University expired in 2009.
Individuals and student organizations will be able to book the rooms, which will range in size and hold up to 12 students, using an online reservation system similar to that used by Gelman Library.
The University has relocated several offices from the Marvin Center to other areas on campus, such as the creation of the Faculty and Staff Service Center in Rice Hall in 2010, as a way to centralize services. The GWorld office was consolidated into Colonial Central to make room for a new activities studio on the fifth floor.
The University is still reviewing possible uses for the fifth floor after the Hippodrome closes in December.
Peller said the University will seek student input during the planning process to design the space.
Student Association President John Richardson said that it is important to have one place on campus where students can be together and feel comfortable.
“[The Marvin Center] is becoming more like a student union every day. The changes are helping to build a sense of community on campus,” Richardson said.
The Hippodrome – the campus bowling and billiards area – will remain open for the rest of the semester, Peller said. Wow! Wingery closed permanently in the spring.
He added that the reshuffling of resources is “part of the general conversation on how to migrate people to create more space.”
Michael Peller, assistant vice president for events and venues, said the project will “work in tandem” with this year’s new J Street model. With expanded hours for dining and the Marvin Center – the building is now open 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to midnight on weeknights – students can stay late to use the study rooms or meet friends in the lounge.
The Fishbowl, another student lounge, will also be converted into offices for the creative management department. Peller expects students will prefer the new Marvin Center space to the Fishbowl – which did not reopen this fall – because of the more central location.
Peller said other than the fifth floor project, the University sees few opportunities to further expand study space in the Marvin Center and on campus in general.
“At the end of the day, we’re limited by square footage. We’re coming close to maxing out existing space,” Peller said.