Students at the University of Illinois Springfield overwhelmingly voted in favor of building a student union on campus on April 18. A total of 432 students voted to approve a fee increase, which will finance much of the construction, while 109 students voted no.
The project will now go through a planning process involving campus administration, university administration, and an outside design firm. This plan will then need to be approved by both the Board of Trustees and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
If the project gains final approval, the student union will be located on the South Quad, next to University Hall. Construction on the project should be complete by 2015.
“Our student union will be a destination for all members of our community - on–campus students, non-traditional students, graduate students, faculty members, staff, alums,” said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. “It will be our campus living room – a bright and bustling hot spot for student activities long into the future; a place to work on homework, hold meetings, enjoy some new food and beverage options, play video games, and just hang out after class.”
Starting in 2015, a full-time undergraduate student at UIS will pay $200 a semester to finance construction. Students enrolled in an online degree seeking program will not pay any student union fees. It is estimated the total cost of construction will range from $13 to $20 million, with part of the costs also covered through fundraising.
“The student union will become the heart of the UIS campus,” said Tim Barnett, UIS vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “The student union will help facilitate a variety of cultural, social, educational, and recreational programs.”
The new Student Union will likely include enhanced dining choices, a game room, lounge and study spaces, student organization space, large programming space, outdoor gathering areas, and various other amenities. The offices of the Student Government Association, Student Organizations and Office of Student Life would also be in the new facility. The new building will utilize the very latest in green technology to ensure an environmentally friendly and sustainable facility.
Auxiliary enterprises, such as student unions, bookstores, or dining facilities, which are not directly related to instruction, research or service organizational units, but do support the overall objectives of the university, cannot be paid for with state appropriations.
For more information, visit www.uis.edu/studentunion/.