Student feedback prompts installation of individual seating in Student Center
The new 39 stations feature power outlets in response to complaints of inaccessible electricity.
Sep. 01, 2015
Because of the 18,000 visitors who pass through the Student Center each day, Student Union administrators have to work constantly to find new ways to maximize the space.
Last fall, the Missouri Students Association received a suggestion through one of their suggestion boxes requesting more individual seats and power outlets. The seating in the Student Center at the time consisted mainly of tables and chairs designed for groups of people.
“All the tables were for two, four or even six people, and students felt bad when they would have to take up a whole table just for themselves,” former Budget Chairman Chris Hanner said. “So we started to talk to the administration, and what we decided was that we needed to have more seating for students who were by themselves.”
The Student Center design team produced several ideas on how to improve the space, and MSA and administrators eventually decided to replace some of the multi-person tables with single-person seats. MSA and Missouri Student Unions then worked together on designs for the individual seating area.
Funding for the $21,300 project came from both the Student Unions and the Student Fee Capital Improvement Committee, a committee that allocates the portions of student fees earmarked for large-scale improvements.
“At first, they were talking about maybe changing the design of the catwalk area on the second floor,” Hanner said. “What we eventually decided was to change a small area close to the information desk on the main floor, where there’s a lot of booths and tables for four people. We decided to take away those four-person tables and put in a bar area that would have charging stations.”
The availability of power outlets in the Student Center was the next major concern. Students who study at the Student Center need to be able to charge their devices if they want to stay for an extended amount of time, Vega said.
“The power situation in the Student Center was pretty bleak,” current Budget Chairman Bill Vega said. “There were only a few floor outlets, and not in the greatest spots, so if you were trying to plug in a laptop it wasn’t feasible everywhere you sat. Now, if you just want to sit and plug in your laptop, the outlet is right there.”
However, rerouting power to those outlets posed a bigger problem than actually installing the new furniture.
“What we had to do to get the electrical is called core drilling, and it’s when you actually drill through existing cement to lay electrical conduits,” said Michelle Froese, assistant director of strategic communications for Student and Auxiliary Services. “Ideally when you build a facility, you have in mind everywhere you’re going to need electrical. That’s not always the case as you make changes. We try to find different ways to get electrical that don’t involve core drilling, but in this case, the space that was available needed it.”
Most of the installation took place over the summer when the Student Center was less busy, but the last of the seats are currently scheduled to be installed Sept. 15. The final outcome of this project will be an increase in dedicated study space for students.
“We’re excited to give students more space to study,” Froese said. “In this case, because of the way these seats are set up, they’re really meant for students to be able to study and use their personal devices.”
Other recent developments in the Student Center include a new 99 percent green cleaning system called ORBIO, bottle-saving Elkay water fountains, upgraded 4G service, more phone charging equipment and a quick print station.