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Architects begin planning Marshall Center renovations

As plans to renovate the Phyllis P. Marshall Center inch closer to a final design, architects met with staff members and student organizations Wednesday to gather suggestions for the student union.

Paul Knell and Richard Bamburak, representatives for WTW Architects, will begin the first phase of the Marshall Center Project and conduct a “feasibility study” to determine how to expand the building while making it more appealing to students.

“We are here as sponges, to get ideas. The students should be the planners and visionaries,” Knell said.

Student Government, Campus Activities Board, the Residential Association and graduate students were among those in attendance to pitch their ideas.

Ideas were gathered from trends at other colleges around the nation concerning dining experiences and student involvement.

Students suggested that coffeehouses/cyber cafés and late-night programming for student organizations be included in the project.

The first phase is expected to cost about $48 million dollars and may be partly funded with a $20 Marshall Center enhancement flat fee that will be added to tuition.

Student Body President Mike Griffin said his main concern was the quality of food service for students.

“Food services are a top priority because they deal with a large number of students,” Griffin said.

Griffin said USF needs more food services and more space to reduce long lines and increase the amount of seating for students.

CAB representatives said student organizations need more space for work and storage in order to operate effectively.

A majority of student organizations requested the student union be more appealing to attract more students. They said the Marshall Center should be the “crossroads” of USF.

Knell and Bamburak said after architects gather the information, they will determine which ideas are realistic and how the changes can be worked into the space available in the Marshall Center.

Once the project is complete, Knell said, WTW will present USF and the student organizations with a report outlining the final design for the Marshall Center.

WTW organized a committee of 60 students and staff to work together for four months to present ideas in workgroups.

Originally, the idea to renovate the Marshall Center began in 1990 as an “enhancement study” for the building.