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Multiple IMU spaces undergoing renovations, upgrades

Indiana Memorial Union renovation projects this summer include aesthetic changes to the IU Bookst... Indiana Memorial Union renovation projects this summer include aesthetic changes to the IU Bookstore and additional seating for students. Photo by Andrew Russell, Division of Student AffairsSeveral renovation projects are beginning at the Indiana Memorial Union that will add about 175 seats for patrons, improve the IU Bookstore and a stage space, and benefit visitors.

Among the updates:

  • The bookstore will receive aesthetic changes.
  • An expanded area around a stage adjacent to the Whitfield Grill on the main floor will aid events.
  • Two all-gender bathrooms are being added, in addition to other bathroom upgrades.
  • The parking lot by the union will be resurfaced.

“We’re constantly working on creating an environment where students want to be, people are hanging out in that space and hang out into the evening,” said Hank Walter, IMU executive director. “We think all these renovations will have a positive impact on students and campus visitors.”

All the work is expected to be completed by the time the fall semester begins in August, he said, and with minimal disruptions to patrons during the summer break.

Improved spaces

New entrances to the bookstore will be created by converting the picture windows near The Mix and The Globe, where the technology store is, into an entryway, and by reopening the entrance from the South Lounge. New flooring and light fixtures will be installed, and the project will take advantage of the notable architecture of the bookstore: the Lincoln Fireplace, the atrium and limestone features.

Stage space near the Whitfield Grill that will receive additional seating. Photo by Andrew Russel... Stage space near the Whitfield Grill that will receive additional seating. Photo by Andrew Russell, Division of Student Affairs“The changes will make the bookstore feel more like part of the union and not a separate entity,” Walter said.

About 100 new seats for students to hang out or study will be added, including in the area inside the bookstore by the curved picture windows on the main floor.

The work will be done in phases so the bookstore will never close, Walter said.

On the main floor, near the Whitfield Grill, the seating area for dining and the stage will be expanded to the south exterior wall of the building. That will improve audience space by adding about 75 seats, as well as allow natural light into the area.

The stage is used for student programs in the evenings and at lunchtime, Walter said, but public seating in the entire building is full for more than 20 hours per week during the school year. Storage rooms used by the IU Bookstore are being removed to create the extra space. Changes in the textbook industry freed up storage space that can now be used for student needs, whether that’s studying, meetings or hanging out, he added.

No restaurants will be impacted by the work over the summer, Walter said, although some seating will be.

Additional projects

Existing men’s and women’s restrooms on the first floor, between Whittenberger Auditorium and the Georgian Room, will receive updated fixtures and be expanded to include more stalls. Also, two all-gender restrooms will be added in that area.

This is part of a larger campus program to update some restrooms, Walter said. The existing restrooms that are being updated will close during the renovation.

Parking Lot 1, which is next to the Union and has 240 spaces, will be resurfaced. However, the Circle Drive is not part of the project, Walter said.

Work will be performed in phases, and the lot will remain open most of the time. It is scheduled to be closed, though, for two weeks at the end of July and beginning of August when work will be done on the lot’s entrance.

A couple of projects at the IMU have already been completed. IU Student Government moved from the third floor of the Student Involvement Tower to the Student Involvement and Leadership Center on the IMU’s second floor. The space previously occupied by IU Student Government is now occupied by the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multi-Cultural Greek Council.