The next phase of the OSU Institute of Technology Student Union renovations can be seen along the main mall of the building with new 3D signage, stonework entrances and artwork by alumni and Oklahoma artists.
The first area to get a makeover was the cafeteria, now called the Cowboy Café, in 2014. The renovation included new service equipment, drink stations, wall and floor tile, ceilings and signage.
“We kicked it off in the front of the house with the Cowboy Café and new meal offerings,” said Devon DeBock, dean of students. The next phase was behind the scenes with new drainage, floors and tile in the kitchen.
“We looked with fresh eyes at the Student Union. When you’re a guest in here, is there a curb appeal?” DeBock said. “When you walk into a space like a mall, there’s very stylized logos and signage. We wanted to brand our storefronts more like that.”
James Byrd, Student Union and auxiliary services director, said OSUIT’s Student Union was built in 1989 and for the first 25 years, it was a very sterile building with blank walls and lots of empty, open space.
“With it being a student union, we wanted to make it more user friendly and more open to community events,” Byrd said. “We want the building to be attractive and comfortable. We’re going to work towards any updates that need to happen.”
The next area that will see improvements is the University Bookstore.
Byrd said all of the current shelving and display cases will be replaced with more heavy-duty pieces on casters so they can moved around to accommodate different items or stock on the sales floor. That phase should be complete by the fall semester.
New wood-style tile floors, wall displays and counters are also on the list of improvements as well as adding a dressing room for customers.
Improvements to interior and exterior signage and decor in the Student Union will also continue.
“We’re going to get new banners, hopefully put some of OSUIT’s historical logos on the brick walls, new signage on some of the auxiliary spaces like the Veterans Center and the lounges,” Byrd said. “Ninety-nine percent of the paintings and artwork hanging throughout the Student Union are from alumni.”
And one of the best things about these renovation phases is that they aren’t costing students anything, DeBock said.
“The funding all comes from revenue from the auxiliary services. The money from the bookstore goes to pay for the bookstore. The money from the café goes back to the café,” he said. “This doesn’t raise tuition, it doesn’t raise fees or come out of general funds.”