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Board of Regents approves MU renovation


December 07, 2007

Arizona State University estimates it will cost $40 million to repair, renovate and upgrade the 255,000-square-foot Memorial Union (MU), the center building of the Tempe campus that provides services, dining and office and conference space for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

The repair and renovation project was presented to the Arizona Board of Regents, ASU’s governing body, and approved by the board today. With this approval, ASU can continue preparing the student union for a partial opening before spring semester begins.

ASU aims to reopen the lower level and first floors by January 2008 and the second and third floors by May 2008.

Funding sources for the project include an estimated $27 million from insurance and $13 million from revenue bonds.

Plans call for installation of new fire prevention methods, including fire detection, warning, barrier and suppression systems on all floors. Crews also will repair any and all buildings areas damaged by fire, smoke and water.

“We determined the extent of the damage and assessed what renovation needs to take place to ensure the building is safe and hospitable,” says Bruce Jensen, interim director of Capital Programs Management at ASU.

“Every effort will be made to reach reopening dates in order to bring dining and retail services operational for the start of spring semester,” adds Jensen.

Specifically, approval of the project gives ASU ability to perform the following work:

• Install sprinklers, fire alarm system (including a voice annunciation system), stairwell fire barriers, and other appropriate structural modifications to meet state fire marshal requirements.

• Restore the dining and retail venues on the first and lower levels.

• Renovate building access and circulation.

• Restore and renovate the public and meeting spaces on the lower, first, and second levels with upgraded finishes and fixtures.

• Evaluate ADA compliance and add accessibility systems where feasible.

Since the fire, 11 retail food venues have been closed, as well as a convenience store and a residential dining facility. The Physical Education Building West was transformed into MU Express, currently serving as a temporary food service establishment for the campus community.

Services of two banks, several ATMs and a travel agency have been temporarily relocated at MU Express. The Sun Card operation has been relocated to the ASU Bookstore, and the four remaining retail operations have been closed until the building reopens.

MU staff and student organization offices have been relocated to various areas on campus. All meetings and events scheduled for the Memorial Union have either been moved to another venue or canceled.