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New student union on the way

The renovation of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center is still in the planning stage, but the new student union is scheduled to open in the summer of 2008.

On Dec. 8, 2005, USF officials met with representatives from two architectural firms, Sasaki and Gould Evans, to begin working out the details of the new building. They believe the new center will be an asset to the growing student body of USF.

“The current Marshall Center and Special Events Center are too small and outdated for a university the size of USF,” said Brian Schulte, the marketing coordinator for the Marshall Center. “A new building would bring a larger food court with more food options and more seating, more space for student organizations, more meeting room space for those student groups, more amenities like a sports grill, a new theater and a bigger ballroom.”

The current building is one of the first four buildings that USF has when it opened in 1960 with only 2,000 students.

It was approximately 106,000 square feet, until the addition of the Special Events Center in 1990, which increased its area to 161,000 square feet.

USF’s Tampa campus had just more than 35,000 students this past fall, and the Council for the Advancements of Standards in Higher Education recommends the average size of any student union be about 10 square feet per student.Ideas for what the new building will look like can be found on the Marshall Center Web site’s renovation page.

The site states that the new union will hopefully have a welcoming appearance, avoiding big-box architecture or looking too “concrete.” There will be ample outdoor seating for students, as well as lounges, study rooms, galleries. and maybe even a meditation room.

The architects will be back on campus this month to begin discussing where the new buildings will be placed. They will move toward a more finalized design in late March.

Students will begin to see changes during spring semester of the 2006 school year when work on demolishing the Special Events Center begins.

“Starting in the middle of February, the SEC will be closed and the Marshall Center will begin removing items that can be reused in new spaces,” Schulte said. “Once the Marshall Center staff has emptied the building, it will then be handed over to the construction company to begin preparations for demolition.”