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March 10, 2005

ULM's SUB "Sinks" Making Way for Renovations

Update on other ULM Construction

A new Student Union Building (SUB) for the University of Louisiana at Monroe is on its way. A "Sink the SUB" party commemorated the last event in the existing SUB in order to make way for the new one. The party, attend by many ULM faculty, staff, students, and members of the community Thursday afternoon, was a time of celebration and farewell. The Glen Road Irish Band played live music while attendees lunched on Subway sandwiches. Many students also took the opportunity to write on the walls of the old SUB. These walls will be covered during renovations.

Amy Weems, organizer of the event and ULM's Interim Assistant Dean of Student Life and Leadership, said the party was a great way to make the transition from old to new. "There are so many construction projects going on at ULM right now," Weems said. "We wanted to do something that would make the statement that the SUB's time had come. We have been talking about SUB renovations since Spring 2003, so we are very excited that this project is ready to go," Weems said.

The original portion of the SUB, which was built in 1939, has undergone several renovations, the last of which was in 1980. The SUB was recently home to several student organizations, a few administrative offices, a bowling alley and billiards room, and a Chick-Fil-A.

The next round of renovations for the SUB should begin in approximately 30- 60 days. Plans include an all night computer lab, food court, study areas, a commuter zone, a ballroom and meeting rooms for campus organizations. The new SUB will also serve as a campus information center, providing students with one-stop shopping for any information they need concerning ULM.

"I think the Student Union is really going to be an exciting building as it is reconfigured to be a better student service facility," said Dr. Nick Bruno, Vice President for Business Affairs.

"This allows the students to have a vibrant facility in the center of the campus that fits with the other construction and improvements being made around campus. It also keeps pace with the projects on campus. It's just another way ULM will be able to attract and keep students," said Bruno.

For now, the entire bottom floor of the SUB is empty and soon the offices on the 2nd floor will be cleared out as well. Once these offices are relocated, the renovations will begin.

The departments moved will temporarily be located in the old ULM bookstore. This temporary location should last about 18 months- the estimated time it will take to revamp the SUB.

The outside renovations will include arched lanterns and more windows to give the SUB an open-air feel. The inside renovations will create a plaza atmosphere with much more room for students.

"The original structure will be gutted and a new fa├žade will be applied to the outside giving it a new, clean look," Bruno said. "The two existing buildings comprising the current SUB and the old SUB will be connected, and no new facility will be added, there will just be massive renovations and the building will look brand new."

The proposed plans are only a concept and are subject to change. The SUB project will also have to go through a bid process.

"What is amazing about this entire process is that the students wanted it and showed they wanted it by voting it in," said Weems.

ULM students voted in the "Student Life Referendum" in April 2003. As a result, the SUB, Campus Activities Board (CAB) and the Student Government Association (SGA) all receive funding from this self- assessed fee.

ULM students have been involved in the process since day one, helping choose the layout and design of the renovations. "It has been interesting and fun being able to see the process unfold," said LaTroy Cato, SGA President.

Other construction projects at ULM are happening now as well. With the implosion of Olin Hall last Fall, and the tearing down of Sherrouse and Hudson Halls, ULM is engaged in a complete revitalization of its campus. Three apartment buildings are currently being built on the east side of the bayou where Sherrouse and Hudson were formerly located. The construction of these buildings is ahead of schedule. Although the apartment buildings are not scheduled to be ready until this August, ULM officials are hopeful they'll be completed by June, in time for summer activities.

The new apartment buildings will be state-of-the art. The amenities students will have to look forward to will include many electrical capabilities and services, as well as high-speed internet, phone, cable, and expanded cable with HBO, just to name a few. Each apartment building will consist of private bedrooms that will share a common living room and kitchen. There will be no more than two students sharing a restroom. A washer and dryer is included in each unit.

Parking will also be greatly enhanced. "When the new dorms open, we will move 400 cars to the other side of the bayou," said President Cofer.

Bruno feels students will greatly benefit from these renovations. "We think the students are going to love the facilities. They are going to be beautiful and are adding to the community already."

Another construction project that will begin at the end of the Spring semester is the new 470-bed residence hall suite buildings. These two buildings will be located where Slater, the post office, campus police and Monroe Hall are currently located. The locations mentioned are expected to be demolished in late summer of this year.

The post office will be temporarily moved to the old infirmary, which will be divided into two separate facilities. Campus police will have three areas of operation: Masur Hall lobby on the east side of the campus, Madison Hall substation on Evangeline St. and the McGuire Street location, where an annex of the current police station is located.

Construction of the new Student Health Services Center at the corner of LaSalle St. and University Ave, began in late December and should be ready this summer. Sandel Hall' s new design should be complete by early summer 2005.

Bruno also said, "The long-awaited widening of DeSiard Street should be awarded soon. Redesigning is currently underway in front of campus, too. Significant effort towards improving the "green areas" of the campus is also underway to make them more pleasing and more readily available for student and faculty relaxation."

"It's an exciting time," said Bruno. "ULM is moving forward, it's gaining that attraction it had a number of years ago. We're doing our best to make sure it stays that way in the future."

Special thanks for the "Sink the SUB" event go to Coca-Cola, ARAMARK Dining Services, Campus Corner Bookstore, JPI Collegiate Housing, CAB, SGA, ULM Cheerleaders, ULM Warbonnets, Spirit Groups, the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises, ULM Campus Police, and the ULM Physical Plant.

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