Manhattan and Milwaukee design firms will design K-State Student Union renovation

Parker Robb | The Collegian Jan van den Kieboom, owner of Workshop Architects, Inc., discusses the firm's interactive model of a redesigned K-State Student Union with Student Body President Reagan Kays, far right, and Barbara Schilling, special projects architect for the Kansas Department of Administration, during the firm's final presentation with Bowman Bowman Novick, Inc., during bid presentations Thursday afternoon. A panel selected Bowman Bowman Novick and Workshop Architects to carry out the approximately $25 million renovation of the Union, pending fee negotiations.

Manhattan-based Bowman Bowman Novick Inc., together with Milwaukee, Wis. firm Workshop Design, LLC, were selected to design the K-State Student Union renovation Thursday, pending fee negotiations.

Five architecture teams engaged in one-hour public presentations and Q-and-A the Union. The firms that interviewed for the position were: Bruce McMillan AIA, Architects, P.A., PGAV with Stantec, Mackey Mitchell Architects, WTW Architects with Howard + Helmer Architecture, and Bowman Bowman Novick Inc. with Workshop Design.

The panel of judges included Ryan Swanson, K-State associate vice president of the Division of Facilities and university architect; Bill Smriga, Union director; and Barbara Schilling, Kansas Department of Administration special projects architect. Attendees had the opportunity to fill out surveys during each presentation, which could influence the board’s decision. After the presentations commenced, the voting board had a meeting with K-State students in order to come to a final decision.

“We have delineated a number of major priorities and goals including facility improvements that will lead to a better financial model for the Union,” Smriga said. “What we are looking for is a process and a renovation that will lead us to those outcomes.”

The $25 million Union renovation and expansion was approved by K-State students in the spring of 2013 and is being funded by a $20 increase in the semester privilege fee. Construction for the Union renovation is expected to commence as early as summer 2015.

“My whole focus on this project is building codes and temporary construction separation – that’s critical on this project because the building will be used throughout the project,” Schilling said. “So it’s a safety issue on how do we stay in use, keep the students protected and keep the contract from moving.”

Brent Bowman, principal at Bowman Bowman Novick, Inc.; Jan van den Kieboom, the founding principal of Workshop and Scott Bond, a principal of Workshop; represented the Bowman Bowman Novick Inc. and Workshop team for the interview. They presented ideas such as opening up views to the west, moving the kitchen, making the building “breath” and creating interactive student space.

“Right now, the building is cut through,” van den Kieboom said. “It’s very transactional. We talked about creating this other path, this experiential path which would lead students and others that are using the building to experience all these different spaces. I think that’s a really powerful idea.”

Bowman Bowman Novick, Inc. have designed many K-State’s facilities, such as the Hale Library expansion, the Institute for Commercialization, the Student Recreation NCAA Women’s Tennis Facility, the Foundation Headquarters and the Wheat Innovation Center. In addition, they have helped design several K-State student houses, like the renovations for Chi Omega, Clovia and Lambda Chi Alpha as well as the new residence of Alpha Tau Omega.

K-State student body president Reagan Kays was in attendance for all of the interviews. When asked, “What are your top priorities?” by one of the architects, Kays said, “I would say from the student perspective, making the Union profitable is the first thing. The second is student-activity space. Those are the two things at the forefront for students, and students are paying for it.”

All of the team’s presentations were given via PowerPoint, starting at 8:30 a.m., and included some of their previous projects.

McMillan, a professor of interior architecture and product design, talked about involving contractors early on and stressed the importance of bringing daylight into the spaces.

PGAV with Stantec brought floor plans of the Union with them and white board markers in order to create diagrams on the plans during their presentation. With this exercise, they were able to discuss the importance of strong entry points, clear circulation, student engagement and lounge spaces.

Mitchell diagramed the possibility of moving the kitchen space into the center of the Union to open up exterior walls, which would allow for more daylight and connectivity to campus.

WTW with Howard + Helmer emphasized that they have done over 100 unions and that, if chosen, phase one would consist mainly of the dining and food areas.

Among students present to witness the presentations was Jeremy Migneco, the student senator for the College of Architecture Planning and Design at K-State.

“I think all the presentations went very well today,” Migneco, sophomore in architecture, said. “But I think what really drove the decision was student involvement and that’s why I was more receptive towards Workshop, because they want to involve us and it’s our Union so we should be involved.”

The next step is fee negotiations. If an agreement is not reached then another firm could be chosen. Schiling said she hopes that contracts will be signed with the Bowman by the end of the month.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 5:55 p.m., Sept. 5 to correct the locations of the firms.