South Dakota State will continue with plans to renovate The Student Union. The initial focus will be on the $1.3 million move of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Moving the OMA from its current space in the lower level to the second floor is phase one of a possible three phase renovation to The Union, following suggestions from last semesters space study. But as of now the plan is in its early stages and needs approval from the Board of Regents to continue.
“Phase two and phase three may be something for career development and adding more student organization space,” said Keith Skogstad, associate director for The Union.
Based on interviews with different student organizations last semester, it was decided that moving the OMA was a more pressing concern than other suggested renovations — such as changes to the Volstorff Ballroom and the moving of various other student organizations.
Due to the $6 million price tag of the original proposed renovations from last years space study, administration has to prioritize certain changes.
“The goal was to get as much done as we could with the funds we do have and one of the main priorities of that was the movement of the Office of Multicultural Affairs,” said Elizabeth Yosick, a senior business economics major and chairperson of the Student Union Advisory Committee.
Breaking ground on the renovation is pending approval of the Preliminary Facility Statement from the Board of Regents — the PFS outlines the specifics of the construction. If approval is granted, an architect will be hired, according to Jennifer Novotny, senior director for The Union. The PFS should be put in front of the Board of Regents by March 23.
Multiple students from the OMA are excited about the move.
Senior health education major Hiriti Araia said it will be good for the office’s exposure.
“I definitely agree with it,” Araia said. “It will open up opportunities for people to meet new people and interact.”
Being more visible to minority students is one of the main motivators for making the OMA move the highest priority for renovations, Novotny said. Over the past three years it has continuously “bubbled to the top” in space study conversations.
There are still “question marks” within the plan, such as how to best serve disabled students with the renovations. Disability Services has its office in the OMA.
“If they move [OMA] to the second level, is it going to promote success for students of that demographic?” Novotny said.
Her hope is, before any plan is executed, Disability Services is well talked about and they would look for the best case scenarios to serve those students.
CORRECTION: This move will not increase space in The Union. 12:45 p.m. 1/18/2018