The 18-month project to transform the Pence Union Building (PUB) into a modernized, light-filled and amenity-rich hub for student life is on schedule for its fall 2018 grand re-opening.
As the construction of the building starts to slowly come together, a lot of work is going on behind the scenes to prepare for some of the logistical challenges of adding new services not only to the building, but to the campus as a whole.
“The majority of the PUB will be new,” said PUB Director Daniel Clapp. “We are excited to see how the renovated building and augmented services will contribute to the EWU student experience.”
The PUB redesign is using the existing footprint of the original 120,000-square-foot building built in 1968, and the finished product will include an additional 4,000-square-feet. The renovation focuses on the areas of highest need identified by the students themselves, including safety, sustainability, wayfinding and a well-lit, open floor plan.
Here are some of the highlights:
- A spacious and natural light-filled atrium with central staircases that provide wide, safe steps for a range of seating options and plenty of outlets for laptops and electronics.
- New highly visible and easily accessible Associated Students of Eastern Washington University (ASEWU) offices near the main staircase on the second floor, with open workspaces and areas for collaboration.
- A new gaming lounge with a checkout station for plug-and-play videogames, tables for board games and potentially a pool table.
- A modernized multipurpose room with a small stage, sound equipment and acoustical fixtures. This room will be used for music performances, banquets, dances and career fairs.
- A new “green roof” focusing on environmental sustainability with an artistic array of local, drought-resistant plants and shrubs.
- All-gender bathrooms available on every floor.
- An audio-visual lab that will bring back some of the dedicated computer working stations of the old PUB lab, while also providing a sound studio where students can go to record, and a video studio with a green screen.
- The bookstore will return to the PUB in its familiar location.
- The bus line will continue to pick up on Elm Street, with a new stop to be located closer to the PUB. A new commuter lounge will be located on the northeast corner of the building, with plug-in computer stations, a coffee bar, a fireplace and an entrance that leads directly out to Elm Street.
Breaking down the fortress
When the original facility was built in 1968, food services weren’t included. So in 1994, another portion of the building was added to provide those dining options.
While the addition was successful in regards to providing more food on campus, the result of the construction was a patchwork of two buildings from different architectural eras coming together with little aesthetic unity inside or out. Outside of joining the two buildings together at the entrance, no other significant renovations were made.
The original plan for the PUB redesign was to separate the construction into two phases, which would have allowed portions of the building to remain open during construction. However, after the project was deemed to be over budgeted a rebidding process took place and a new contractor, Leone & Keeble, won out.
The PUB project design didn’t change much, but the construction timetable changed from a two-year project to 18-months, requiring the entire building to be vacated.
What will emerge from the current pile of rubble in fall 2018 will almost be an entirely new building. Large glass windows on both the north and south entrances will infuse the building with natural light and will provide visitors with great visibility to the campus mall.
More information can be found on the PUB's website.