The Renick University Center renovation is kicking off next month

March 18, 2024

The plan to make a renovated Renick University Center and Mardigian Library the new central hub of campus is taking some big steps.

An artist rendering of the renovated Renick University Center, featuring an open lounge area, walkaround fireplace and maize and blue theme.
This artist rendering is the inspiration for the renovated east side of the Renick University Center. Credit: Neumann Smith Architecture

Last summer, the university announced a new comprehensive campus planning effort to rethink how we use physical spaces on campus. The centerpiece of that plan is a vision for making the renovated Renick University Center, Mardigian Library and the outdoor space between the two buildings a new central hub for campus, particularly for student-focused activities and services. Executive Director for Facilities Operations Carol Glick says this will be a multi-year, multi-phase project, but she’s excited that the first stage — a major renovation of the RUC’s first floor — will begin next month.

The renovation will focus on the east (parking lot) side of the building, where several core student-facing offices will be getting new or updated spaces. Director of Planning and Construction Emily Hamilton says one of the fun parts about this renovation is working with staff to design around their specific needs, many of which have changed substantially post-pandemic. For example, staff in the One-Stop, the student-facing hub for enrollment-focused services, have embraced hybrid scheduling and office sharing. Hamilton says this, along with new, recently adopted guidelines for more compact offices, enabled the facilities team to create additional spaces within the same physical office footprint. “By having smaller offices and shared offices, along with more efficient furniture styles, we were able to create a whole new flexible workroom space that has a TV on the wall, and you can push the tables together for meetings, or break them apart to eat lunch or have a conversation,” Hamilton says. “So they’re getting more useful space in the One-Stop without adding any square footage.”

University Unions and Events is also getting a new suite on the first floor, which gives staff a location nearer the meeting rooms that UUE manages, like Kochoff Hall. The renovated first floor will gain several smaller meeting rooms, as well as a large meeting room for hosting tour and orientation groups. The Student Advising and Resource Team, or START, will be moving down to a new first floor location and will be sharing a suite with Career Services, which is moving over from the Fairlane campus.

One of the biggest transformations is happening along the east end of the building, where the bank of transaction counters will be removed and replaced with a large open lounge area. Furnished with cozy furniture and a multi-sided, walk-around fireplace, this space is intended to create the welcoming living room the campus has never really had. “This building is the center of the campus, right? So this is prime real estate,” Hamilton says. “We realized having rooms that store years and years of student documents wasn’t the best use of that space. We want every inch of that prime space to be focused on serving students.” 

The renovation project is currently out for bid, and Project Manager Kal Haddad expects construction crews will start prep work in early April. Starting March 18, offices impacted by the renovation began temporarily moving to various locations. The One-Stop will relocate to the SSB building. The UUE info desk will shift to the northwest corner of the RUC, outside Kochoff Hall. The Office of International Affairs will move to the second floor of the RUC. Kochoff Hall and meeting rooms 1225 and 1227 will remain open for scheduling. Picasso and the credit union will be unaffected by the renovation. The Bookstore will be downsized and renovated. Glick expects the first floor to fully reopen sometime during the first quarter of 2025.

Work on the Mardigian Library, as well as the outdoor space between the RUC and library, is not part of this initial round of design and construction but is expected to begin in the next few years. Work on the larger comprehensive campus plan is also ongoing and scheduled to be finalized in May. A forum will be held to review the data collection and evaluation process, share findings and address questions from the campus community.


Learn more about the comprehensive campus plan. Story by Lou Blouin