Renovation to MGC first floor to be completed fall 2016
Determined to create a stronger “community feel” where students can study, socialize and grab a bite to eat, the AU administration has implemented plans to renovate the first floor of the Mary Graydon Center. The renovations will likely be completed early next fall, according the the Office of Student Activities.
With its central location and large open space, MGC serves as one of AU’s most popular buildings, and Student Activities intends to renovate the space to expand beyond its current use. Plans to improve the social aspect of the space involve purchasing TVs, as well as gaming consoles such as XBOX and Wii, which students will be able to use at their leisure, according to Senior Director of the University Center and Student Activities, Michael Elmore.
Other plans for the building include moving Argo Tea from the Katzen Arts Center, to where the P.O.D. Market in MGC is currently located. It has not yet been determined what will be replacing the Argo Tea in Katzen.
The administration’s main goal behind the renovation is to give students a place on campus where they feel they belong, according to Elmore.
“The sense of community on campus is critical,” Elmore said. “Students who find they have a place to belong are more likely to stay and persist through graduation. We’re coming around to the idea that the concept of space and how it’s organized, how it’s designed, has a major impact on social ability and the student’s ability to meet people and work together.”
In addition to adding entertainment to the new and improved MGC, Assistant Director of Facilities and Events and Services Darcy Frailey said functionality will also be an important element of the remodel.
Frailey, who is a key leader in helping select new furniture for the remodel, said he understands the need for students to stay electronically connected. He aims to choose furniture that is not only modern, but also has functions like electrical outlets built in, so students can charge their phones and laptops at their convenience.
“We wanted furniture that was a little more permanent, so that students could make it their space,” Frailey said.
School of International Service junior Olivia Ohanesian said she feels that a remodel to MGC could largely increase school spirit and encourage students to stay on campus for longer periods throughout the day.
“As an upperclassman who lives off campus, sometimes I find myself coming to school just during class times, then leaving right after to go back home,” Ohanesian said. “I really only stick around when I see other people I know who are on campus too. Giving students a new place they can hang out will make them stay longer, which brings a sense of community.”
While the plans for the remodel are just starting to take shape, AU administration has been looking to renovate MGC into a more student-friendly area for years now, according to Elmore.
“The plans should be complete by the time of 2016 commencement next fall,” Elmore said.
According to the Office of Student Activities, plans for renovation go past just MGC, as the administration is in the preliminary stages of drawing up a blueprint for remodeling the campus bookstore. While further details regarding the bookstore’s renovation won’t be available until January 2016, the office of Student Activities have been able to confirm the inclusion of a new student lounge to the first floor of the bookstore.
“This is just the beginning of something much more, that hopefully will be transformational to student experience,” Elmore said. “That’s our intent.”