Changes to Union complete for the year

Photo by Taylor Alderman | The Collegian The K-State Union is undergoing a few changes such as additions to the bowling alley and added seating to the food court.

The K-State Student Union saw a number of changes over the summer, and there are still more to come. However, some of these changes won’t start until at least spring, according to Union officials.

“The changes this year are not significant, because we are ramping up to the changes that will take place next year,” said Bill Smriga, executive director of the Union. “Obviously, we are not going be changing things and spending money on things that are going to be torn up or removed because of the renovation.”

Smriga said the upcoming renovation will cost $25 million, and could start taking shape in May 2015. Audrey Taggart-Kagdis, director of marketing for the Union, said the renovations are in the planning phases still, and are being handled in Topeka with the Board of Regents because the funding for the project came from K-State students.

“At this point, we are in the process of selecting the construction architects for the construction process,” Taggart-Kagdis said.

However, those who traffic the Union have seen some changes recently. Smriga said the bowling alley was renamed to “The Wabash Cannon Bowl.”

“We kind of have done a facelift and a name change to the bowling center,” Smriga said. “(The name was) a suggestion that met with unanimous approval by the student union governing board.”

Smriga said some of the pool tables were also removed, along with the addition of four television monitors to the space. Two new pinball machines have also been added.

“It’s got two state-of-the-art pinball stations that weren’t there before,” Smirga said. “I hope it makes a comeback, personally.”

The new pinball games, “Metallica” and “Star Trek,” did not cost the university anything, Smriga said. This was because the lease agreement for them involved a 50 percent share on profits from the game between K-State and the leasing agency.

“We’re in the process of unveiling the new name and some new decor down there,” Taggart-Kagdis said. “At this point, that part of the building won’t be affected by (the renovations).”

Daniel Preston, senior in milling sciences and president of the Union Program Council, said he felt students were given fair representation in choosing the renovations.

“Based on what I’ve seen, nothing really stood out that I didn’t like,” Preston said. “I like that all the student organizations are going to be centralized in one location.”

Preston, who said he is in his third year with the UPC, said there were two major things they focused on for the renovation. One was adding new seating for students that was not in the food court.

“That was one of the initial things that was talked about a lot, making room for students to come to the Union for non-food,” Preston said.

Another point of concern was the art gallery.

“One thing that we talked about a lot was that we were really pushing to make sure the art gallery stayed,” Preston said. “It gives students, not just art students but any student on campus, the chance to submit art to UPC and possibly get it displayed.”

Preston said the discussion over that took three meetings. In the first, the students took a poll to figure out if students felt the gallery still served a purpose. In the second meeting, the results of the poll were announced making it clear that students agreed the galley stays. The third meeting involved putting together a plan to argue for it to the administrators.

Taggart-Kagdis said the changes to the bowling alley are nearly done.

“It should be finished up in the next week or so,” Taggart-Kagdis said. “We will be having a formal naming celebration the week of Sept. 8.”

Editor’s note: Updated Aug. 27, 2014 at 10:19 p.m. to correct the source of funding of the project and clarify the project’s current status.

Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.