Renovation & Construction Showcase: University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, Reeve Memorial Center
Submitted by Sara Ann Suwalski, Associate Director of Operations
Full-time enrollment: 13,900
Project broke ground: August 2016
Project completed: September 2017
Total area: 180,444 sq. ft.
Project cost: $8.7 million
Funding source: 100% student fees
Architects: Berners-Schober Associates – Green Bay
Student government and organization offices: 2,274 sq. ft.
Lounge and study areas: 2,591 sq. ft.
Storage: 417 sq. ft.
Meeting and conference room space: 3,582
Copy and marketing services: 677 sq. ft.
Computer and open work space: 879 sq. ft.
Originally constructed in the late 1950s, Reeve Memorial Union saw few upgrades until 2000, when a large renovation. When a recent study identified a number of needs that included making the front entry accessible and updating building systems, a new opportunity was recognized for enhancing interior use of space for student involvement and improving general meeting locations.
Project planning spanned five years as student building committees determined needs, provided guidance to the design team, and served as the voice of their campus peers during decision-making processes. Students were also instrumental in the look, feel, and layout of the space design, including providing feedback on furniture and fabric selection.
The impressive front entrance is the showcase of the renovation, showing the center is safe, welcoming, and state-of-the-art.
“As soon as you enter the newly renovated space, guests have a visual example of how the facility provides a variety of spaces for student use and engagement,” said Sara Ann Suwalski, associate director of operations. “Since completion, the building has become host to many student group meetings, admissions visit day gatherings, and other campus and community events. Students are settling and moving into the new space and using it for collaboration, studying, organization planning, and meetings.”
One design features was creation of first-come, first-serve three-sided rooms that allow for privacy but don’t completely separate users from the Involvement Center. Inclusivity was an important goal for the student building committee, and students felt strongly about increasing open, accessible spaces. The addition of new all-gender restrooms, a lactation room, and a commuter lounge also fell under the inclusivity goal.
Available natural light was enhanced by implementing energy-efficient glazed windows, and project materials containing recycled content were put in place where possible. Students also saw technological upgrades with increased wireless access points and USB power supplies, along with new digital display monitors. An upgraded building security camera systems was also put into place.