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Some MU students frustrated with new student center

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 | 12:22 p.m. CST; updated 4:40 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 5, 2009
Students enter the new Brady Commons on Tuesday. There is only one entrance to the not-yet-completed project. Jeannine Clow, bookstore greeter, said the expansion “can’t be completed soon enough for me. I miss the kids hanging out.”

COLUMBIA — MU opened its new bookstore in early January, as part of the first phase of the construction of a building that will replace Brady Commons. 

Since then, students have given the bookstore positive reviews for space and organization, but point to a number of inconveniences. While temporary, the issues are frustrating those who use the building as a gathering place during the day.

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Students cite the insufficient seating in the dining area, the single entrance into the bookstore and the lack of bathrooms.

Michelle Froese, public relations manager for Student and Auxiliary Services, said two additional entrances will be available for use in about a week. She said access to bathrooms will be available by the northwest entrance in another week as well.

The Center for Student Involvement on the second floor will open March 1, and Froese said the opening of that floor would make the current situation better for students.

“This area will give them expanded and improved space for student clubs and organizations,” she said. “I just walked through the space with a student, and it’s phenomenal.”

Opening the Center for Student Involvement will officially end Phase I of the two-part construction project for the new student center.

Construction of Phase II is set to begin at the end of February or the beginning of March, once the bidding process ends. Phase II will include a centralized area for student media outlets in the basement of The Shack, the programming and lounge area named after a bar that was popular with students until it closed in 1984.

While Phase II construction is ongoing, students will not be able to access anything in Brady Commons, including the food court that has served as a hangout for students.

“Certainly, phasing causes some discomforts,” Froese said. “But when you look at what Mizzou students will have at the end of two years, they will have one of the best student centers in the Big 12, if not the nation.”

With Phase II eliminating the food court area in Brady, students will need to find ways to adjust.

Dave Walsh, a junior, said the construction has changed the way he does his work during the school day.

“I used to go to Brady in between class to do work,” Walsh said. “Doing group projects in between classes is harder now.”

Alex Gage, also a junior, said he also used to go to Brady between classes to study, eat and socialize. He said not having that space right now isn’t ideal, but he welcomes the change on campus.

“It’s always nice when they have upgrades,” Gage said. “The down side is there is a lot of construction on campus which is not aesthetically pleasing, but once finally completed, it will be an excellent addition to the university.”

Froese said once both phases for the new student center are complete, there will be ample space for dining and socializing.

“If you used Brady before, you could camp out at tables and the uncomfortable chairs and make the best of it, but there was really no place where you could just socialize as well,” Froese said.

In the meantime, Froese said students can go to the Bengal Lair in Memorial Union, where more seating has been made available to accommodate students during the Phase II of construction.

For now, students will have more space available in the bookstore. Tammy Mullins, a freshman, said the bookstore is much improved.

“It’s more spacious and easier to get around,” Mullins said. “It was a good decision to expand. It’s worth the money.”

The entire student center is set for completion in spring 2011.


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