Work has begun to turn BJ’s and the Student Commuter Lounge on the first floor of the Campus Center into an inviting and technology-rich social venue at Kettering University.
“Our primary goal is to create a welcoming space for students to relax and socialize among themselves, and with faculty and staff members,” said Betsy Homsher, vice president of Student Life and Dean of Students.
The 7,000-square-foot project will transform two Campus Center spaces into an open, mixed use venue for studying and entertainment, Homsher said. Plans include:
“The cafe will feature late afternoon to late night snacks and beverages,” Homsher said. Menu items will include pizzas, burgers and other student favorites.
“One of the best parts of this renovation will be the Wi-Fi and the convenience of lots of electrical charging stations so our tech-savvy students can relax and enjoy themselves anytime in this digital environment.”
Architect Shannon Easter White of Flint’s Fun Architecture is currently completing the design. “The furniture was selected by B-Section students during a Sit & Stroll last fall when vendors showcased their wares and students voted,” Homsher said. “We selected the colors, furniture, and carpeting based upon students’ preferences. Colors are vibrant and natural light will pour into the space.”
Institutional funds, along with a generous commitment from Kettering Student Government, will finance the renovation project. Over the next two years, KSG will contribute $50,000 from the Connie John Millennium Fund, an endowment funded by student activity fees until 2012.
Kettering Student Government President John Oliver said the project is a great step forward for students. “While BJ’s lounge is in a central location on campus, it currently lacks the facilities to make it a useful area for students,” Oliver explained. “I think students will benefit from the added sense of community that will come with the new social space in the renovated lounge,” he added.
Homsher said the University has wanted to renovate this space into a vibrant social venue for a long time. “We actually held a competition in 2011 and invited students to submit design proposals for the space,” Homsher said. “Student Devin Hauersperger won the design contest. We have integrated many of her elements into the design because she created an incredible plan.”
Hauersperger, a senior Mechanical Engineering major from Troy, said she is excited and flattered that the updated space came from her design. “I was thinking about a space that I might want to go relax with friends between classes or in the evening. We don't really have a nice comfortable common area on campus that is designed to be just a lounge, at least not a large area where many people can gather and just escape from school work temporarily.”
“I think this renovation is important to the students because it will give us a space that we are lacking,” Hauersperger said. “I believe many clubs will make this their new meeting place because it will be the most comfortable place on campus because of the seating and décor. I believe the atmosphere in a room plays a huge role in what people choose to use it for. I was trying to make a more versatile space initially, but now realize that it would be hard for people to study in there if others were there to hang out and have fun.”
The new facilities will open around Kettering’s Homecoming Celebration, May 17-18.
“What a great opportunity to turn the Campus Center into a true center of campus,” Homsher added.