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Within the last year, the Memorial Union has upgraded their heating, plumbing, electrical and communications systems. The goal of this $10 million project was to expand the building’s service and facility offerings to create a versatile and historically dynamic environment.
“While we honor the past through some of the exposed elements of the building, we are excited this project will continue to push our goal of serving the students of today and tomorrow in a more fulfilled way,” said Brad Hill, associate director of the Memorial Union.
The Memorial Union has been a unique symbol of professionalism and community to Iowa State since the fall of 1928. Since then, the building has gone through 11 renovations and has been used as a hotel, a student dormitory and a reserved office space for various student services.
The main features of the renovation were floors four through six. Modern office spaces and conference rooms were made to accommodate new student services. A comfortable lounge, all-gender restrooms on all floors and computer access areas were created for students’ use.
The top three floors house the following organizations: The Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success, the International Students and Scholars Office, the Iowa State Lectures Program, the Iowa State Veterans Center, the NCORE-ISCORE Office and Student Legal Services.
“We look forward to bringing a renewed vigor to how people view and utilize the Memorial Union,” Hill said. “The Memorial Union strives to provide environments where all can develop themselves in leadership, community engagement, as well as career readiness skills.”
However, a few unexpected complications came with the job. Being able to fit modern elements into previously existing structures served as a challenge for the contractor and architects that were hired on the job.
“You never know the conditions of the space until you are able to do some demolition,” Hill said.
The supply chain issue and demand for specific materials posed another setback for the Memorial Union. Fortunately, their recent partnership with the Iowa State University Live Green Revolving Loan Fund helped increase the level of sustainable energy consumption in the building.
Despite the complications, the Memorial Union aims to have everything move-in ready and available to the public by later this May. The Memorial Union and the Division of Student Affairs stay committed to providing opportunities of all kinds to Iowa State students.
“We hope that this will only be the beginning of providing renewed and revitalized spaces for Iowa State students to feel at home and be able to express themselves and their ideals,” Hill said.