Breaking ground and making history

Student Union groundbreaking ceremony occurs today

Tamarra Newbern, News Reporter

After much waiting, anticipation, and speculation, UIS officials are set to break ground on the Student Union today at 10:30 a.m.

The historic groundbreaking ceremony comes after the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved a construction contract in March of 2016. The $12.7 million contract was awarded to Williams Brothers Construction Inc. from Peoria.

The Student Union is a $21.7 million project that University President Timothy Killeen, Chancellor Susan Koch, and Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder will present to students, staff, faculty, and community members during the groundbreaking ceremony.

The Student Union will be located just south of the campus’s quad and will provide various assets to the university.

According to UIS Director of Public Relations Derek Schnapp, the building will house “dining services, a coffee shop, a ballroom with seating for up to 450 people, and a Student Leadership Center that will house student government, volunteer offices, and workspaces for student organizations.”

According to Schnapp, the university lacks a place for students to gather.

“The campus originally catered to upperclassmen and graduate-level students, but is now a traditional four-year school without the central gathering place for students,” Schnapp said.

Some UIS students are excited about the construction of the Student Union, while others are not.

Ryan Morgan, junior and computer science major, believes that the university should work on project development as well as the interests of student.

Morgan stated, “I am a junior and I’m about to graduate. The university should develop more rapidly. Overall I give them applause for building it. Yet, they should build things that are of our interest too.”

Christopher Romero, a sophomore legal studies and political science major, hopes that the university doesn’t have another delay in construction, but still says he is “excited because we waited so long for the Student Union.”

Jaclyn Fabing, a sophomore political science major, feels that the money donated could be used for something else than just another building.

Fabing said, “I am okay with the Student Union being built, yet it’s just going to be a large SLB, we could build something else than that.”

Approximately $5.3 million in donations have already been raised and the remainder will be paid off through further donations, campus funds, and construction fees that students will pay after the building opens.

The university anticipates the facility to be finished and open to the public in January of 2018.

Until then students, staff, faculty, and community members can watch as the facility is being built on the UIS campus.