ETSU has selected architectural firm Beeson, Lusk & Street Inc. to handle the planned D.P. Culp University Center renovations.

“They were just finally appointed in the last couple of weeks,” said Jeff Howard, dean of students. “We haven’t met with them yet.” BLSLogo

Meetings with the architectural firm will begin in early March, when long-term plans about the construction will be finalized. Additionally, the university and the architectural firm will begin a phase called “building programming,” in which the two parties start coming to an agreement on how to best design space to suit the university’s goals.

“By the end of the term, we hope we will finish the building programming phase with them,” Howard said.

A more definitive timeline of construction plans will be available at the end of the term.

After approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents in the summer of 2015, a $145 per semester fee has been rolled out to students to pay for the project. Sophomores and incoming freshmen were charged beginning last fall. Next academic year, students at a junior level and below will be charged the fee.

The university’s current goals for the renovations, based on student input, include updating the look and feel of the university center to be more modern. Upgrading the center’s technology offerings is also planned, with more space for students to charge their devices and a higher quality Wi-Fi connection.

Student Organization Resource Center offices, currently spread out over three locations in the Culp Center, are planned to be consolidated into one space, and a centralized office will be added for the university’s media outlets.

Students have also asked for a wider variety of food service options and more indoor and outdoor space for gaming, lounging and traveling through.

“We live in such a beautiful area,” Howard said. “We want to be able to enjoy it.”