By the end of 2019, the D.P. Culp University Center will have an entirely different look.
University and student leaders have been working diligently to plan and design a renovation that best uses the $40.5 million allotted for the project.
Bill Rasnick, the associate vice president of facilities management, planning and construction, said the process has moved from the programming stage to the design phase with the hired builders, Beeson, Lusk & Street Inc.
“Right now, the schedule shows that construction will actually start in March or April of 2018,” he said. “That could change. We could end up doing phases before that. There could be a phase that starts as early of summer 2017, but that isn’t likely.”
The entirety of the project is scheduled to be finished by Dec. 2019.
Since the university announced that the building will undergo renovations, several rumors have been circulating the student body about what these renovations entail, including the possibility that the signature rock in the Cave would be removed.
“The rock part of the Cave will remain intact,” Rasnick said. “The Cave entity itself will definitely remain.”
According to Rasnick and the three design plans listed on the facilities website, the layout of the building is expected to change dramatically.
On all three of the plan options, the Marketplace and the Atrium, or retail dining, is set to move to the first floor. Rasnick said, however, that keeping the marketplace on the third floor is an option in order to save money to use elsewhere.
“If we did that, the bookstore will likely be on the first floor as well as retail dining,” Rasnick said.
In the Cave, students can expect the possibility of three separate lounges – performance, student and gaming/TV.
On all three of the plans, the Multicultural Center, bookstore, Buc Mart and ARC will stay in their same locations, but the SORC offices on the first floor will move to the second floor. A Student Media Center, an area for the East Tennessean and The Edge, are expected to have their own spaces on the second floor as well.
The post office is expected to move to the third floor, where the ballroom, forum, dining rooms and meeting rooms will remain. Ultimately, the main goal of this project is to use the money efficiently.
“We’re trying to be good stewards of the students’ dollars,” Rasnick said.
Students can keep up with the plans on ETSU Facilities website at etsu.edu/facilities.