North Texas Daily

Amenities bring hope for Union completion

Amenities bring hope for Union completion

Amenities bring hope for Union completion
October 14
00:16 2014

Katelyn Hoagland / Intern Writer

Next August, students will read the fight song and alma mater within the terrazzo lining of the new University Union. They’ll open doors featuring eagle-shaped handles, and will have the chance to see the Union’s large art collection.

They’ll see history of UNT on the walls of the Union through photos, unique graphic designs, and text blurbs focused on the university’s milestones—a part of the branding that Zane Reif, director of the University Union, said will be amazing.

“You’ll be able to walk into the University Union and know what it means to be an eagle,” Reif said.

The University Union has been around the campus since 1964 but it’s been 38 years since the building had any upgrades. The new Union, set to open in August 2015, is expected to be bigger, better, and more beneficial.

“Within this new Union, we’ll have a lot of Student Affairs offices,” Reif said. “The student organizations will actually have space dedicated to them that they’ll be able to use as often as they possibly can.”

If students want to reserve a room for meetings or presentations, they can set up a reservation about 15 minutes before their arrival. The air conditioning would turn on in that room, the screens would come down and the lights would start to operate.

In addition to the ease of reservations, there will also be touchscreen displays throughout the Union, power outlets at every seat in the Lyceum, increased WiFi coverage and convenient printing stations.

The new Syndicate will have two stories, pool tables, gaming stations and the One O’Clock stage. The Union will have the usual food options, like Chick-Fil-A and Taco Bell, but will offer a healthier option in the new market.

Union benefits community with new spaces

Another feature is the Mother’s Nursing Station. While nursing mothers can attend to their children’s needs at any location according to the Texas Health Code, they will also have the chance to breastfeed in a private setting at a central location on campus.

Per student request, the University Union will also have a dance room complete with wooden floors and mirror-lined walls. Those who use the room can simply plug their iPod in and their music will play throughout the room. Students, especially those in dance organizations, can rent the room whenever they may need to use the space.

“As a dance organization, we are constantly struggling to find practice space,” President of Emerald Fusion Andrea Allen said. “Recently, a girl on our team suffered a minor injury due to the unfit dancing space we have to use. This dance room is a great investment; it lets me know that my university is looking out for the little people.”

Tau Delta Mu dance fraternity president Emmanuel Rodriguez said the space could be a great addition to the team’s rehearsals. Most of the team choreographs for the rest of Greek Life, but it also competes.

“I think it’s pretty awesome,” Rodriguez said. “Whenever we’re in the competitive period of our year, we rehearse once every week. It’s unfortunate that I can’t use the space next fall because I’m a senior.”

Because of the additions to the Union, it’s difficult to believe this building still means green.

The Syndicate’s rooftop garden will have a water cistern to collect rain water that will help offset water usage in the building. That water can then be used for the garden’s native Texas plants.

The Union will have solar panels to help eliminate some electricity use. The thermostat will adjust according to the season to lower costs, and lights will be shut off so energy is not wasted.

Additionally, 92 percent of old Union materials were recycled during construction and the remaining 8 percent were found within a 500-mile radius.

Importance of the Union

Sophomore Matt Guzman grew up in Lubbock, close to Texas Tech and its modern Union. He visited the college often for school events and soon began associating a Union with college life.

“I visited the Union when I came to UNT as a prospective freshman, so I found it strange not to have one when I started last year,” Guzman said. “I’m excited for the completion of the new Union, but I’m tired of the construction.”

Honors Hall resident assistant sophomore Julie Hagen never had the chance to experience the old Union. While she says the construction is a bit of a nuisance, it’s all she’s known throughout her time at UNT. She understands why juniors and seniors miss the old Union. It was a central hub filled with activity and a lobby for the whole campus, she said.

“When I came to UNT, the Union was no longer functioning,” Hagen said. “A couple of weeks into school, they started to demolish the building. It seems like the finished Union will be an added luxury.”

Featured Image: The new University Union is in it’s fourteenth month of construction and students are beginning to see new building framework come together. The Union is still scheduled to open in the fall 2015 semester. Students can follow all Union news at union.unt.edu/materplan/about. Photos by Samantha McDonald – Staff Writer.

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