University Center’s fifth-year anniversary celebrates building’s impact on campus
February 3, 2012
The $34 million majority student funded University Center celebrated its fifth year anniversary on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
“The celebration included building tours and speakers as well as free birthday cake served to students during the lunch hour by the UC Desk Staff,” said UC Director Cara Rubis.
Planning for the UC started in 1997 and construction began in April of 2005, Rubis said.
The project cost was just over $34 million and $33 million of that came in student fees, said Rubis.
Construction of the first eco-friendly building ever on campus was completed in January of 2007. UW-River Falls students voted to add an additional $1 million just to make the facility a green building.
Some green concept highlights of the UC include that 1-inch of rainfall fills four underground collection tanks which are used for flushing toilets totaling 48,000 gallons of storm water. Main lights throughout the building adjust their light output based off the natural light coming in through the windows, according to Rubis.
The celebration had speakers: Chancellor Dean Van Galen on the UC impact on the campus and community, Director of Student Life Operations Bob Sievert on the concept and design, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gregg Heinselman on the grand opening preparations and the role of the college union and Rubis on operations and student experiences. Since the UC opened there has been more than 40 clubs and organizations created. Before the UC, Rodli dining hall and the old student center, now Hagestad hall, were serving 4-5,000 students a day.
When the UC opened it was serving about 5,000 students a day and now it serves about 7,000 students per day, Heinselman said.
“Part of what I think is important, is that there used to be a pretty distinct west campus and east campus, east side of campus ate at Rodli and the west side ate at Hagestad, it’s a small campus operating as two campuses, we were fortunate to have the University Center in the middle,” Heinselman said.
Heinselman inherited the project when he came to UWRF and his role in the celebration was to initiate the celebration and recognize the impact this building has had on this campus.
“You never hear students talk about the east side and west side, is the biggest change I’ve observed,” Heinselman said.
Students use the UC for various reasons. Senior Lauren Auxier uses the UC for the bookstore for school supplies and utilities offered at the information desk.
“From eating with my friends, to working in the Student Senate office, I use the University Center everyday. It’s a great place to hang out with friends, or even do homework. It can fit almost every need you have,” freshman Grady Nelson said.
Rodli Hall is now home to classrooms and the Fast Copy Shop, while Hagestad Hall is used by Career Services, Student Health and Counseling Services, Textbook Services, IT Services, the Athletics Department, classrooms and more, according to the UWRF website.
Since the opening of the UC, meal plans have increased by 28 percent, family day attendees has increased by 125 percent, and campus event reservations has increased by 69 percent.