An exciting change in the Student Center is anticipated next semester with the renovation of the BJU Snack Shop and Campus Store.
The dividing wall between these two areas will be torn down to combine them into one room with a comfortable den-like feel. Little renovation will be done to the Snack Shop side, while the Campus Store will be entirely revamped to become more student-centered.
“It will take on an entirely different look and feel,” said Mr. Steve Hensley, chief Facilities Management officer.
This new look will have more of a Barnes & Noble feel, with more seating, a new coffee bar and less merchandise. While Bruins gear and Christian living books, such as devotional books corresponding to the president’s chosen theme for the year will remain available, the retail space will be repurposed.
A coffee bar will be attached to the POD. The POD will retain its function as provisions-on-demand with the addition of a barista-style counter where customers can step up and order.
Another new aspect to the Student Center will be meeting rooms, anticipated to line the back wall of what is now the Campus Store. Several rooms will be available to allow small groups, societies and group projects to meet in a quieter, more private environment.
The textbook store, which is currently located in the back of the Campus Store, will remain in this location, but will likely occupy less space.
The idea behind all these changes is to better utilize the current space and turn the Student Center into a true center of campus.
“What folks will see is a very casual, comfortable, laid-back type of space,” Hensley said. “It will be a place to literally kick back and put your feet up on a coffee table.”
BJU has hired DP3 Architects Ltd. to design this project. The University has worked with DP3 before, and the company has a history of designing for colleges and universities.
Because it is currently in the architectural stage, only rough estimates have been made of the cost for this project. Current cost estimates run from $200,000 to $450,000. The funds for the renovations will be raised from the Bible Conference offerings taken March 24 through 28.
The renovations to the Student Center have been under consideration since last spring and were chosen after careful deliberation. Dr. Stephen Jones, who made the final decision, was looking for a project that could be completely funded by one Bible Conference offering and one that could be completed during the summer to be ready for use at the beginning of the fall semester.
After meeting with student leadership and receiving input from Facilities Management and Student Life, the decision to move forward with this project was made.
“Having a central space to hang out and for [groups] to get together will be good,” said Mr. Kyle Wilcox, special assistant to the president.