Months of planning are beginning to come to fruition for the LBJ Student Center. Expansion and renovation of LBJSC has taken months of input and specific plans have been released for the changes to come over the next two years.
The LBJSC will expand by 22,000 square feet and consist of a new ballroom, multi-cultural lounge, additional meeting spaces, office space, changes to dining facilities, an office for alumni relations and a welcome center. Renovations are approximately 60 percent complete, including repairs and upgrades of infrastructural components like the air systems in the teaching theater and ballroom.
Jack Rahmann, LBJSC director, is looking to make changes to the center that serve students first.
“Eighty percent of it is student space, with a little bit for staff,” Rahmann said.
With most changes being centered around students, the expansion and renovation is making changes that impact students directly.
“It’s going to look a whole lot different,” Rahmann said. “It’s time for an upgrade.”
Changes to dining facilities will include the first renovation of George’s in its 20-year history. Other changes include an extended menu and faster service at Chick-fil-a, with the anticipated completion date of fall 2018.
Most of the changes to LBJSC, other than those done by the reserve fund, were voted on by students in a campus-wide February 2016 referendum. Out of the total 1,032 votes, 614 were in in favor of the expansion and renovation.
N’Deye Ndiaye, international relations senior, was one of the 41 percent of students who voted against the expansion and renovation.
“I didn’t feel like it was going to be possible to expand it any further because we are so limited on space,” Ndiaye said.
Parking and other usefulness of spaces that students aren’t already using are concerns Ndiaye has about the changes on campus. However, on-campus prayer rooms are an aspect of the expansion Ndiaye wishes to see.
“I really wanted them to build a safe space specifically for religious purposes, like praying,” Ndiaye said. “I’ve seen Muslim students before, praying in the library and other spaces. It would help to have a place for us to pray during the day. And it doesn’t even have to just be for Muslims, it could be for Jewish bobcats and for Christians.”
The Texas State University System Board of Regents has selected Atkins Architects to design the changes and Vaughn Construction to expand and renovate the student center. Expansions are estimated to be completed in 2020 and renovations are expected to be complete in May 2018.