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Students get involved in union focus groups

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Several UIS students, faculty and staff were chosen to take part in six design and construction focus groups for the proposed 2016 student union. The groups will give their input on topics including:

  • Furniture and interior design
  • Leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED)
  • Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems design
  • Art in architecture
  • Gaming and audio visual design
  • Food service design

Furniture and interior design

Members of the furniture and interior design group will make decisions on the interior characteristics of the building – what UIS Director of Construction Chuck Coderko said is of “huge importance.” The group will work with architects and an interior design team until project completion.

Leadership in energy and enviornmental design 

The LEED project group will work with a team of architects to design and incorporate energy and environmentally efficient initiatives. These initiatives include those such as rain water retention and a “living” roof, both which Coderko hopes will lead to a gold LEED certificate for the union’s construction and design.

Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems design

In an era where technology is essential to individuals of all ages, electrical design is crucial – the union is no different. Amenities including air conditioning, food preparation areas, televisions, gaming systems, projectors, computers will all be centered on mechanical and electrical workings. The focus group will work to suggest systems that will meet the needs of current and future students.

Art in architecture

The art in architecture group will focus in on incorporating art within the actual architecture of the building. The group will have the responsibility of choosing a local artist to hire or commission to work on said artwork. The art will include mediums such as mosaic tile, modern art, media art and electronics.  Roughly .5 percent of the budget is allocated to art.

Coderko said the challenge for the group is that art will be permanently in place – an important part of the “culture of the campus.”

Michael Lotspeich, sophomore member of the art in architecture group, said, “I’m excited – no – exhilarated to have a part in helping [determine] what art is placed in the new student union. The student union is a significant investment in our campus’ future.”

Gaming and audio visual design

The gaming and audio visual design team will serve the student union making decisions for new and old gaming systems and their relevance to students. The team will be chaired by a UIS student and will be tasked with making the student union a fun and inviting place for students.

Food service design

The food service design team has been established for “quite some time,” according to Coderko. However, in terms of the union, the group will concentrate on the food that is served, as well as catering. The team will also aid in the design of the kitchen and dining areas.

Coderko said the design and construction processes would be “nothing without student involvement.”

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