Three years, seven months and 22 days after the inauguration of the Bone Student Center revitalization project, more than 100 people gathered on May 7 in the shadow of the centre’s new three-story addition for the building’s re-inauguration up close. 48 years old. .
The 30-minute celebration highlighted the on-time and on-budget construction project that transformed the center of student life on campus. The event concluded with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring the program speakers: University President Dr. Larry H. Dietz, Board Chair Julie Annette Jones, Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Levester “LJ” Johnson, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Danielle Miller-Schuster, and Student Advisor Jada Turner.
Miller-Schuster moderated the event and set the stage by rethinking the grand opening.
“On September 15, 2017, we came together, wiped off the sweat and celebrated the coming transformation of a 45-year-old institution, a building named after two revered university presidents, Drs. Bone and Braden. We remembered some of the establishment’s old dining venues, many famous talents who had walked through the Braden Auditorium stage, and laughed at the building’s architectural nickname, a style once aptly called ” brutalist, ”she said. – Well, there is nothing brutal about the Bone Student Center anymore. Today, we officially unveil excellence and applaud the tremendous effort invested in achieving that excellence, even in the midst of the most formidable global health crisis of our lives. “
The last major revitalization update was completed in February when the Star Ginger opened inside the Bird’s Nest, making it the sixth and final retail dining venue at the Bone Student Center. Other major updates included the aforementioned three-story addition; major renovations to the west side entrance and the Brown Ballroom; the addition and relocation of numerous partner spaces including a new Starbucks; and the expansion of student gathering places inside and outside the center.
The project was long in coming. Dietz recalled meeting normal former mayor Paul Harmon in 2011 when he arrived in the state of Illinois as the new vice president of student affairs. Harmon told Dietz how he was involved in almost every task force involving the Bone Student Center renovation over the years, but nothing ever happened.
“He said, ‘I understand that as the Vice President of Student Affairs, this unit could be part of your portfolio. Is it true?’ And I said, “Yes,” said Dietz. “And he gave me this stack of notebooks (detailing renovation plans), which I remember being so big. He said, “For God’s sake, would you do something? Former mayor, I think we’ve done something.
Dietz also took the time to thank a long list of people involved in the planning and construction of the center and noted his impending retirement.
“When I announced on November 20 of last year that I would be retiring on June 30 of this year, I proposed that the last seven months of my tenure might indeed be among the busiest months of my time. career. I think this prediction comes true on many fronts, but I have to say that I find a sense of gratification in completing several projects before I retire. The Bone Student Center is one of those projects – and the gratification does not come from the completion of the revitalization under my watch, but from the opportunity to publicly express my gratitude to the legion of dedicated people who have brought this endeavor to fruition. ”
During his speech, Jones noted that funding for the project did not require new dedicated student registration fees or additional costs to taxpayers and reflected the centre’s impact on the community.
“The Bone / Braden complex is not just a student center; it is a community center. With the pandemic in our rearview mirror, the Bone Student Center will fully regain its usual vibrancy, welcoming up to 5,000 visitors each day, posting 4,000 meetings and events per year, and contributing to the annual local economy of the State of ‘Illinois, with the economic impact in the excess of $ 830 million.
Johnson said the needs of students have been placed at the forefront of the revitalization project.
“Understanding that the Bone Student Center serves as a central location for students throughout their trip to the state of Illinois, we were intentional about the services we want to provide throughout the building,” he said. declared. “Now their relationship with Bone begins earlier in the beautiful new Admissions Atrium. … I am delighted to announce once again that students can visit the Student Involvement Center, now enhanced with more space and technology to help students explore their interests on campus. … Students can also explore their interests even further by visiting Career Services to learn more about their major and get advice on preparing for their future internship or career. By offering all of these services, the Bone Student Center is truly serving students throughout their college career.
Turner highlighted the personal impact the Bone Student Center had on his college experience.
“This is where I went to connect with some friends, who turned out to be my best friends. We would go to college program events together or study at Einstein’s while enjoying a delicious strawberry smoothie. The Bone serves as a central place to meet and hang out. It was exciting to see the transformation of the bone throughout the revitalization. And I’m so happy to be here today for the completion of this project so that I can take advantage of some of the new services and spaces as a student.