When students enter the building, staff at a large Welcome Desk will offer answers and directions. Nearby will be a store where students can purchase UIS apparel, convenience items, snacks, and supplies.
A lounge weaves through the main floor of the Student Union with ample seating for study, discussion, and informal interaction between students and faculty. A versatile space, the lounge will stimulate all the best kinds of interactions for students, faculty, and others on campus. During cold days, a fire will crackle in the large brick hearth inviting visitors to relax and spend time together. At the west end of the lounge, students will find a “winter garden,” with seating inside and evergreen plants outside.
Campus dining will move to the Student Union, with a variety of dining options on the main floor: grill items, BBQ, sandwiches, specialty salads, Chinese, Latino, California Hearth, American comfort foods, and more. Patrons can enjoy their meals inside by the fireplace, outdoors on one of the patios, or sitting in one of the Student Union’s many intimate booths and nooks.
The Student Leadership Center, also on the main level, will house student government and student life offices, and the Center for Volunteer and Civic Engagement, and offer work desks and tables for student organizations and groups to use, conference rooms, and a kitchenette. Staff at a large concierge desk will be on hand to answer questions or direct students and guests.
Large kitchen and catering spaces will be at the east end of the building, enabling the Student Union to accommodate large and small events, conferences, and formal gatherings for the campus and the community.
To the north, a large patio with fire pits and lots of seating will offer ample space for concerts and other student gatherings. A second, smaller patio appears to the south of the building.
Movement within the building flows easily through several levels, including an intermediate tier toward the western end of the building. This tier has a coffee bar with comfortable seating and a second fireplace beckoning students to relax and enjoy the warmth. Two conference rooms will jut out into the open space above the downstairs lounge, each with glass walls that can be more private with sliding panels.
The view from the upper level will encompass the Colonnade to the north and the recreational fields to the south.
On the upper level, a large ballroom/multipurpose room will be available for use by students for career fairs and science symposia, by the Chancellor for Convocation or faculty meetings and for donor events, and by the community for events such as wedding receptions. This large space will accommodate 350 people in a banquet setting. It can also be divided into two to five smaller spaces for conferences led by students, faculty, or community groups. A stage can be set up when desired.
At the top of the stairs is a pre-function area where people can gather before an event and where students can find a quiet place to study at other times. By opening the walls of the ballroom, this pre-function space will enlarge the ballroom, allowing it to seat up to 450 people at tables (see rendering on back page). At these times, the intermediate tier can serve as the pre-function area.
Three terraces, one large and the others smaller, extend outside from the upper levels. With tables and seating, the terraces offer room for study, discussion, and other interaction. The west end of the level has space for storage, catering, and mechanical concerns, as well as offices for the Student Union administrative staff.