Student Union Expansion Project

Student Union Expansion Feasibility Study

Student Union Expansion Task Force

Student Union Expansion Project - FAQ

What is the Student Union Expansion project?

The Student Union Expansion project is a proposal that would expand and renovate the current RI College Student Union by up to 65,000 gross square feet to create a more vibrant center for student and campus life.

What is the Student Union Feasibility Study?

The Student Union Feasibility Study is a report that was written by an architectural firm (RGB) in Spring/Summer 2011 to analyze if an expansion and renovation of the current RI College Student Union is feasible. Its purpose was to examine the development of "A robust concept for a Student Union that is aesthetically pleasing, modern landmark". The Study can be found at Adobe PDFhere

Why does the Student Union need to be expanded?

Data from the Student Union Feasibility Study clearly indicates that the current structure is well below industry standards for capacity and lacks competitiveness with peer institutions. The Student Union fails to provide gathering spaces for students to socialize and relax between or after classes, services and functions to address students' involvement and affiliation needs, and meeting facilities to accommodate the demands of faculty, staff and students as well as outside community groups.

Is the Student Union too small?

The Student Union opened its doors in 1967 with approximately 45,000 square feet of usage space and designed for a student body of 3,500, including 400 resident students. Since 1967 the student population has increased to over 9,000 students. The ACUI industry standards recommend 10 square feet per student and RIC is smaller than most similar schools in the region.

How do RIC students feel about the Student Union?

The general sentiment among RIC students is that the campus is lacking in aesthetically pleasing, comfortable space to relax and spend time between classes. With limited event venues, meeting rooms and student organization office space, active students feel limited. When asked, some comments include:

  • "I'd like a place like a TV/Game area to take my mind off things."
  • "Most people use the café, sometimes every table is full"
  • "I had to explore the campus to find out what was available to hand out in – it is not front and center."
  • "The café is used, but the set up is weird with mail in the middle."
  • "It needs a community environment where organizations can collaborate."
  • "There is no tradition on campus, it should have a thing."
What does Student Government think?

Student Community Government requested that the administration to study the feasibility of expanding the Student Union in November 2007. A campus Task Force was appointed to write a report which justified the current Feasibility Study which confirmed its findings. "On Oct. 5, Student Parliament voted to endorse a proposal as presented to Student Community Government, Inc. to encourage the RIC administration to move the project forward towards final approval and construction. Despite Parliament's overwhelming 19-1 vote to approve the project..." (The Anchor, 12/12/11).

What is the timetable of the expansion?

The Student Union Expansion Project would occur over the course of the next 2-4 years. After approvals and funding has been obtained, an architectural firm would be hired to create the design and blue prints, followed by the hiring of a construction company. The actual construction phase would last an estimated 14 month. If all goes as planned, the faculty could be occupied between 2014 and 2015.

How much will the Student Union cost?

The expansion would cost between 25 and 35 million dollars.

How will the Student Union expansion project be funded?

Since the Student Union is an auxiliary service and operates 100% from the Student Union fee, the project would be supported by an increase in that fee.

What if I graduate before the building is complete?

It would be proposed that a fee increase would be added incrementally and not charged until the project is underway.

Why not spend money on upgrading other campus buildings that are in poor shape instead?

Upgrades and construction on most other campus buildings come from a different funding source. The Student Union is paid for by student fees and would not use the college's budget or be paid for by state tax payers.

Where would the functions of the Student Union take place during the renovation?

The Student Union would operate with the facility throughout the construction. Construction would begin on the outside of the building and when it is done, the current operation would move into the expansion while the interior is completed.

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Page last updated: January 6, 2012