Phase II of student center enters final year of construction

After enclosing the middle section, workers can hang sheetrock.
Faculty and student leaders tour the unfinished area of the student center Thursday. The finished building will feature a food court, an additional lounge and expanded areas for student media.

The interior of the student center will take shape in the next month, as workers begin to hang sheetrock in the structure's lower level, Student Unions Assistant Director Jeff Roberts said.

Roberts led a tour group of faculty members and students through the student center's lower level Thursday. A student lounge area, six dining locations and offices for several student organizations will fill the area when Phase II of the project opens in January 2011.

"The main entrance will be all glassed in," Roberts said. "It'll be like the bookstore now — you can go up, you can go down. And that's the entrance that'll lead you to the bridge over the lounge area."

The bridge above the lounge space will connect the Leadership Lounge and center for student involvement above the bookstore to the second floor of the structure's west side.

"There'll be some lounge space for students on the bridge as well," Interior Design Coordinator Tracy Schultz said. "It'll lead to some study areas and the Traditions Lounge."

According to the student center's Web site, the Traditions Lounge will incorporate design elements that recall MU traditions. The Web site also states Phase II will include another Mizzou Market, copy shop, ATMs, a bank and nine meeting rooms for students. The six dining options in Phase II will offer Italian food, Brazilian barbeque, sushi, deli and wraps, a coffee shop and a bakery.

Phase II will also house The Shack, the reincarnation of the restaurant that stood across from Jesse Hall for more than 60 years and will include portions of actual booths from the original. The student center's Web site stated The Shack would offer live music, open mic comedy and poetry.

Schultz said the lounge would seat approximately 86 students.

"The area in the middle will mostly be soft seating, and we'll have a fireplace in the middle of that," Roberts said.

Construction on Phase I of the project, which contains the new bookstore, the center for student involvement and Truman's Takeout, began in July 2007. Phase II construction began in spring 2009.

"There's no concern about falling behind schedule," Roberts said. "In fact, if anything, we're ahead of schedule."

Roberts attributes the project's progress to work done in June and July especially.

"We had a very productive summer," Roberts said. "The weather cooperated all throughout the summer. We didn't have hardly any bad weather for construction work until the rain we got in the fall."

The roof on the middle section of the student center was erected in November and allowed construction on the interior to continue through cold and rainy weather. The next step for construction crews is enclosing the middle section.

"Until they get the building fully closed and waterproofed, they can't start hanging the sheetrock," Assistant Facilities Manager Dale Smith said.

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