U.S. Bank makeover, aesthetic changes underway at Norris

Students relax on the new couches in the main lobby of Norris. In addition to the new furniture and decorations, a larger US Bank office will open at the end of April.

Melody Song/Daily Senior Staffer

Students relax on the new couches in the main lobby of Norris. In addition to the new furniture and decorations, a larger US Bank office will open at the end of April.

Ally Mutnick, Reporter

Although plans are in the works for a possible $150 million renovation to Norris University Center, the University continues to make short-term improvements to the existing building.

As U.S. Bank prepares its move to the former ground floor FedEx Office, Norris staff members are soliciting replacement ideas for the bank’s vacated kiosk. A slew of aesthetic revamps, including new rugs, couches and paint jobs are set for this quarter.

The bank will close its current location on Thursday and reopen in its new spot across the floor on Monday.

“We’re going to demo the bank-looking parts of the space,” said Norris executive director Kelly Schaefer. “We just need to start from scratch.”

The counter, gates and a faux-wall will come out of the space, which Schaefer said she hopes will be replaced with something that can serve students. Though she said Norris has no current plans, officials are exploring ideas with different students groups and looking at suggestions through Campus Voice.

She said the center is considering bringing a Do-It-Yourself bike service station — an idea that was rejected by the Associated Student Government 10K Initiative — to Norris, possibly in the vacant kiosk. However, Schaefer said she does have responsibility to create a concept that will bring revenue to the student center.

Norris has not approached Sodexo, the company that manages nuCuisine, about bringing any food options into the space, said Steve Mangan, Sodexo district manager. He said Sodexo would explore options if Norris asked, but the location’s small size makes things difficult.

“It’s not much more than a closet,” he said. “It wouldn’t support very many options.”

With Spring Quarter almost halfway over, the center would likely not fill the space until the fall, Schaefer said. However, the aesthetic changes to Norris have been underway since Spring Break. The West main entrance received a new paint job and couches, and a rug will be placed this Thursday.

Bienen freshman Lena Vidulich said creating new seating in the entrance was useful for the student center, and she recently saw people using them.

“Before they just had big bulletin boards, and it’s a big open space,” she said.

The staircase leading to the ground floor has two new posting boards for students’ flyers and will receive new TVs and artwork. The University is currently painting Willie’s Food Court. Couches were also removed from the food court and brought to Norbucks to create more seating.

“We’re trying to loosen some of the congestion in the seating,” Schaefer said.  “I think a little bit goes a long way in terms of how people feel about the space and how they use it.”