By Nick Beaulieu, Editor-In-Chief
The Milo Bail Student Center is set to undergo big changes in the next few years. Starting in the Spring of 2015, UNO will start an 18 month, $20 million renovation to Milo Bail to update the building significantly for the first time since 1994.
“It’s been in planning for a few years,” said assistant Milo Bail Director Brian Bollich. “We’re in that process now of working with the architects, doing the final detailed planning of the student center.”
Without making any structural additions, the biggest changes to the building are coming on the first floor, involving the student life office, C-Store, and more.
“The first floor is going to be gutted and redone,” Bollich said. “It’s going to be a big transformation.”
One specific change is that the C -Store will be bigger post renovation and a café of sorts will be added as a spot for grab-and-go food. The new spot won’t be a grill – you’ll be able to find that upstairs. Opposite of the food court, Bollich said they envision a night-centric grill to go in place.
“[It’ll be] a late night place to have food prepared,” Bollich said. “We don’t know how late it will be open, but later than we are now, whatever the demand requires it to be open.”
Major construction to a focal building may cause students to think major headaches await. The entirety of the building will never be completely closed throughout the renovation process, with available access to the third floor and various other sections depending on the pace of the construction.
Along with that, the budget of the new building is within the current allotment of student fees, meaning it’s not going to cost the students an extra dime.
“We kept it within the student fees that are already being paid, so it’s no increase in student fees at all,” Bollich said. “That’s what the Chancellor asked us to do – keep it within the funding available.”
With the rate of which UNO is growing, it may seem questionable as to why such a major renovation would take place without significant expansion of size and space. The answer to that is a combination of the need to make updates now and a lack of funds and space to build something to be accommodating in UNO’s long-term future.
“The answer to that is no, the structure won’t be able to handle if we have a significant increase in enrollment. The University administrators have talked about that, but that comes with fruition,” Bollich said. “Our building, along with others, will have to be looked at as far as more space for eating, lounge spaces, book store, whatever. But at this point in time, the funding won’t let us do anything bigger.”
The need to make changes is a result of the highly outdated interior appliances within Milo Bail.
“Half of the cost is behind the scenes,” Bollich said. “The heating and cooling systems, some of them are original, so they’re 55 years old. They’ll all be replaced. Those won’t be some of the things you’ll see necessarily see, but hopefully you’ll be able to feel it.”
Big-time universities typically have at least one thing in common – they have a unique and special student center. Bollich and others behind the planning recognize this importance and the advantage that the building has in being on prime campus real estate.
“We feel it’s very important to have a vibrant looking building and appealing inside,” Bollich said. “That’s part of the reason why we try and keep it looking nice.”
Milo Bail has always been the home on campus of the students. The new look will soon make the student center an up-to-date facility for student life.
“We will be very accommodating,” Bollich said. “Students and student life is what this building is about.”