A $45 million dream is now reality. Despite final numbers in price not yet determined, about five years ago plans to renovate the D.P. Culp University Center at East Tennessee State University were brainstormed, and now they are being put into action.
“We were receiving multiple request from students that they wanted more space for their activities, student organization space could be enhanced, the food service space in the building both in terms of service and options didn’t provide everything that they wanted,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Joe Sherlin.
The Office of Student Affairs alongside a group of students from the university looked at the facility for areas of improvement. After discussing their ideas, the SGA voted to support a fee to go towards the facility. After the fund was set, they began to work on designing and programming leading up to construction that will begin this upcoming May.
“Lots of students were involved in what we want this building to be, what’s important to us in terms of the spaces, what are we wanting to improve, what are our goals and now we are moving into putting shovels in the ground and making that happen,” said Sherlin.
According to Sherlin, a few changes are as listed:
– The Arc, Advisement resources in the career center, will be moved to the library
– The Student Organization offices will be moved to the multipurpose room in the Campus Recreation Center
– The Multicultural Center and Trio programs will be on the ground floor of Lucille Clement Hall
– Starbucks coffee and pastries will move to the Tree House
Sherlin says there are still offices that they are working to place including the Counseling Center, Career Services and the Student Affairs Office. He expects to have those locations set by the middle of February.
Everyone will move out of the Culp Center after graduation in May for a few weeks. When school begins in the fall, services will be open including Marketplace, the bookstore and the post office. Offices will be closed.
“The hours should remain the same for Marketplace,” said Sherlin. “We will also have addition food service around the campus and we’re working on what that plan looks like. For example, the retail in this building [the Culp] will not be open like Chick-fil-A, so we need to provide additional retail on campus. So we are doing a number of things, we are doubling the line at Subway to allow us to increase capacity there, we will have a food truck… Steak and Shake is one the new concepts that’s going to come in.”
Retail will work the same way it did inside of the Culp Center. If you are on a meal plan you can still go to Marketplace, but dining dollars can be used at the food truck.
Sherlin says along with Steak and Shake will be a food truck sponsored by Sodexo, but they are still exploring the concepts on what will be served and also a cart that will move around campus with sandwich, hotdogs and more.
Construction will start in May and is projected to be finished in Spring of 2020 to prepare for the grand opening in fall of 2020.