UMD students who contributed to the planning of Kirby Student Center’s renovation will host a tour and ribbon cutting on Tuesday, October 20, 2015. The tour begins at the welcome desk of Kirby at 3:45 p.m. and the ribbon cutting happens at 4:15 p.m. Kirby Student Center is on the lower level of 1120 Kirby Drive.
The ribbon cutting officially completes the second phase of a renovation of the nearly 60-year-old space.
The first, the lounge, was completed in 2013 and expanded the space from 3,800 square feet to more than 6,300-- a 2,500 square foot increase.
Construction across the hall, “Phase 1B,” office and meeting space, began last January and was completed in August. Student Service Fees allocated in support of the renovations funded it.
Planners say the renovation met their goal, “The thing I’m the most proud of is that we were able to create 1,800 square feet that’s accessible to any student, whereas the old space had zero,” says Jeni Eltink, director of the Kirby Student Center.
Planning for the overall renovation started about three years ago with the realization that students’ needs in the 1950s, the era that Kirby was built, are a lot different than today’s student’s requirements. For example, the new lounge is equipped with tall tables for charging laptops and phones, booths for group projects, and lights with sensors that power down for sustainability.
Another reason to renovate- the number of students at UMD has grown significantly over the years. A caveat, however, was that the renovation had to work within the constraints of the original footprint. To do this, architects designed the new spaces to get maximum use for the maximum number of students. Between the two-phased renovation, 4,300 square feet have been added for the general student body to use.
Nathan Ernst, president of the Student Association, was involved with the design and is especially appreciative of the vantage point and visibility of his new office, “I feel like we have a lot more opportunities to connect with students. It’s such a welcome and open space.” He calls it a ‘living room’ and that’s by design.
The underlying view of Kirby being a “home for students” guided new spaces that complemented this perception. “The Garage, the Porch, and the Studio are spaces that are reserved for students and just students to use,” explains Associate Director Joie Acheson Lee.
A maroon and gold color scheme was used throughout.
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