New student center plans move forward

Jeanne Kuang, Campus Editor

Northwestern’s plans to renovate and expand its student center are moving forward consistent with its scheduled groundbreaking in 2017.

The project underwent program verification throughout the spring and summer and Ennead Architects, which was chosen by the University in April, will soon design the building.

The program verification process included focus groups in the NU community that discussed concerns over various aspects of the building, such as its internal spaces, relation to campus ecology, safety and operations and technology.

Focus groups were held with faculty members, staff members, about 75 undergraduate and graduate students and some members of the Evanston community, said Kelly Schaefer, executive director of Norris University Center.

Chris Harlow, Associated Student Government student life vice president, sat in on two focus groups in the spring, including one held with ASG Senate.

Some issues students brought up included the new center’s “need for much greater collaborative space for student groups and more robust food options,” Harlow said.

“One thing on the table was the removal of defined office space,” he added.

Some groups, including The Daily, have office space on the third floor of Norris. Harlow said a potential reorganization in the new center could cause some student groups to lose their offices but allow more groups access.

The building, which is projected to increase significantly in size and include more lounge space, is expected to open in 2019. The construction project has a budget of $92 million, Schaefer said.

Editor’s note: This story was changed Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. to reflect updated information about the size of the new building.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jeannekuang