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Ole Miss Student Union to Close Dec. 21 As Construction Enters Its Next Phase

With the expansion and renovation of the Ole Miss Student Union well underway, the next phase is set to begin. As the construction of the expansion moves along, the entire building will be shut down for the Spring and Summer of 2017. When the original timeline for the Union expansion was mapped out in 2007, the plan was to keep the union open throughout the entire process, but new dining options on the Ole Miss campus now allow for the ability to continue to serve the student body while closing the union. 

“In the initial plans we knew we couldn’t shut down the building altogether, we needed to be able to withstand the demand for food because there was hardly anywhere else to eat on campus at the time. Fast forward to 2016 and you’ve got the pavilion, Rebel Market, Grill 1810 and more,” Bradley Baker, Union Director, said, “As the campus expanded, we knew that we’d be able to sustain six months of the union being closed.” 

Baker noted that Chick-fil-a and the P.O.D will operate out of mobile units located in the center of campus, with exact locations and hours to be announced soon. Ole Miss Dining services are also working on extending the hours of dining options around campus while the union is shut down. 

The expansion of the Student Union is a unique opportunity, and getting the students involved in the process was an important aspect of planning for Baker and his team. 

“We wanted to make sure that we had the students input throughout the entire process. Since this process began we’ve had numerous students, student leaders and administrators come through the University, and we worked with them to get their thoughts,” Baker said “Any time there has been a decision that needs be made, whether its the carpet, tile or furniture we want their input. We want to the students to know that this is their building and that their voice is being heard. 

The original student union was completed in 1976 when enrollment was 7,000 students. In 2007 when the plans were drawn up enrollment was around 15,000. With upwards of 22,000 students Ole Miss has continued to grow, and the new student union will reflect that. With a square footage of 170,000, the Union will be home to a full-service Mcallister’s and Which Which Sandwhich’s along with the current restaurants in the union. All restaurants will be available when the expansion opens its doors in August 2017. 

“Bringing in that Mcallister’s was really exciting for us. We wanted to bring in a name brand, but also a local favorite, so what better than an Oxford original,” Baker said, “I know it’ll be packed, and they’ll probably sell a lot of sweet tea.”

In addition to new dining options, the expansion will also feature an 8,200 square foot ball room for events. The existing student union will be renovated to feature new meeting spaces for student organizations, with a 2,500 square foot conference room and a 2,700 square foot council room. The expansion will also feature an air-conditioned indoor transit center for students. The road by the union will remain a service road for busses and University vehicles. 

With the restaurants moving to the expansion, the current lobby will extend across the entire first floor of the union giving students more space to work or relax. The Barns & Noble will be relocated to the Jackson Ave. Center until the renovation of the existing student union is completed.

The expansion of the union with the new dining options is set to open in August of 2017, while the renovated original student union will open in the fall of 2018. The rennovations of the current student union will begin in January 2017. A plan that began back in 2007 is now beginning to come together, but Baker preaches patience to everyone as the project enters its next phase. 

“It’s not every day you get a build a student union, so we are truly excited about this unique opportunity. I know that people don’t like change, but there’s going to be disruptions with lane closures and construction vehicles, but it will all be worth it. We want people to be patient because, in the end, the result is going to be a beautiful building that our students and our university family can be proud of when we open the doors in 2017 and 2018. 

For more information about the project, click here 

See rendered photos of the completed project below: Images courtesy of Olemiss.edu

The Ole Miss Student Union is undergoing a $50 million renovation to add 60,000 square feet of space for dining, ballrooms and offices.
The Ole Miss Student Union Expansion 
Current Student Union Renovation
Current Student Union Renovation
Expansion Food Court
Expansion Food Court
Lobby Renovation
Lobby Renovation

Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com

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