|The Kirby Lounge Renovation|
The dark, closed off tunnel that is today’s Kirby Lounge is opening up and becoming a larger and more naturally lit space. The Kirby Lounge and the hallway on the first floor are being renovated this summer to meet the needs of UMD’s students. The current lounge has not been updated since 1983, so it currently meets the needs of students from 30 years ago. The total area that is being renovated runs from Heller Hall to the UMD Bookstore.
This $1.5 million dollar project was chosen because it is an area that affects the greatest amount of students. The three sides of the current lounge are being torn out to allow more space for students. “We have been talking about this project for the last four years,” said Jeni Eltink, director of Kirby Student Center at UMD. “Everyone wants it to be updated and once it is, it will benefit the entire campus.”
Currently, the lounge stretches 3,500 square feet and after the renovation, it will expand to 6,600 sq. ft. There will no longer be the separation between the hallway and the lounge, and more windows will offer more light. New furniture will be added to the lounge, as well as fireplaces, billiard tables, areas for group projects, etc. “The new plan has been specifically designed around what students have said they want,” said Eltink. “It will be a space to do a lot of different things in the same place.”
All of the work being done on this project will go on during the summer. The lounge space and hallway will be open for students in the fall. This project will have a huge impact on recruitment for UMD. “Prospective students look at student life facilities,” said Eltink, “Happier students equal happier faculty. It is all a part of the equation.”
For more information on this project, visit the Kirby Renovation website.
Written by Riley McLaughlin, April 2013