Russell Union to be closed for summer renovations

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Taisha White

Due to renovations needed, the Russell Union building will be closed during the summer semester. Starting in early May, the building will be closed to replace the supply registers and repair ceilings in classrooms.

The biggest concern, according to Patrice Jackson, Dean of Students, is the heating, ventilation and air conditioning, which will endure the most repair and cause offices, including the Multicultural Student Center and the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement, to move to a temporary area.

“I know the HVAC system will be replaced. The offices within the Union will be moved temporarily to other locations on campus,”said Jackson. “These offices will communicate their temporary locations to students through email, signage and social media.”

The offices will be moved to different areas on and off campus to avoid safety issues. Renovations are scheduled to end early August.

Chick-Fil-A/Starbucks renovations

Starting May 8, popular chains Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks will be closed down for over six weeks to resemble concurrent franchise themes. Everything from new colors, paneling, logos and service and food prep equipment will be gutted and out and restored.

As Eagle Dining Services owns two on-campus chains, they are under a contractual obligation that requires an upgrade to restaurants over a number of years. Although the renovation process is new to most, the process to start construction has taken over 18 months, according to Robert Hisey, assistant director of university housing and auxiliary services.

“The timing accommodates having to close the area and work on it,” Hisey said. ”Since we have camps, conferences, SOAR and summer school during that time frame, it has taken us this long to get an agreement with everybody about where students are going to be located and what alternative services will be available to them during the summertime.”

While Chick-Fil-A will not receive major changes besides the food and prep areas and the registers, Starbucks will receive a full upgrade, going from 48 to 65 seats, according to Hisey. According to Jeff Yawn, Executive Director of Eagle Dining Services, the cost for renovations for both Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks is over $500,000.

Although she was not aware of the changes, freshman nursing major Alana Clark wants the Russell Union to add variety when it comes their next big project.

“I haven’t really noticed any amenities that need to be upgraded but I am glad that they are keeping us updated on what is going on,” Clark said. “I would like to see another food place open or have Gus Mart stay open later than usual.”

Hisey also explains that the summer semester is also the busiest because not only will the GS contractors be working on renovations for the Russell Union and the food chains, they will also be renovating dorm rooms as well.

Dorm rooms 

Hisey and his team have to repair dorm rooms over 17,000 times during the summer semester.

During the semester, Southern Pines will get all new windows, University Villas will receive new windows, fire alarm systems and a new panic button system. Freedoms Landing will have roof and exterior trim upgrades.

All of this comes with the usual cleaning of the dorms as well as repairing any damages and paint jobs.

New locations

The following offices within the Russell Union have received their temporary locations for the summer:

Dean of Students Office – Veazey Hall

Fraternity and Sorority Life – Facilities Administration Building 450 on Old Register Road.

Student Conduct – Veazey Hall

Alcohol and Other Drug Programs – Veazey Hall

Military and Veteran Student Center – Military Science Building

Multicultural Student Center – Student Support Services (Rosenwald Building)

Leadership and Community Engagement – Kennedy Hall

Russell Union Staff – Nessmith-Lane