Illinois State University to Break Ground on $33M Project

Financing for the $33 million revitalization came primarily from reserve funds.

📅   Tue September 12, 2017 - National Edition
Rachel Hatch


The Bone Student Center is often called Illinois State University's “living room.” The campus hub sees 5,000 visitors daily, and hosts more than 4,500 events throughout the year.
The Bone Student Center is often called Illinois State University's “living room.” The campus hub sees 5,000 visitors daily, and hosts more than 4,500 events throughout the year.

The Bone Student Center is often called Illinois State University's “living room.” The campus hub sees 5,000 visitors daily, and hosts more than 4,500 events throughout the year.

This living room is getting a much-needed new look as construction begins on a revitalization project for the 44-year-old building.

“The revitalization will transform the Bone Student Center into an enticing doorway to campus,” said Director of Event Management, Dining and Hospitality Bill Legett. “New entrances will provide a more welcoming environment, and an exciting interior design will add more natural light and open seating for all.”

A groundbreaking ceremony will be at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 15, on the east side of the Bone Student Center. The event will also honor long-time supporters of the University, Bob and Julie Dobski with an unveiling of the Dobski Conference Room.

The Bone will remain open throughout the three phases of construction, which is slated for completion by 2020. “Staff are strongly committed to minimizing disruptions during the phases of construction,” noted Legett.

Financing for the $33 million revitalization came primarily from reserve funds. “We're proud that no tax money will be used for the project, and students will not see an increase in fees to fund it,” said Legett. “We did this the old-fashioned way. We saved for it.”

During the first phase of construction, face-lifts are planned for the north and west entrances. The Brown Ballroom will also be renovated during a portion of this phase, adding portable walls to enable division of the room when needed. A new addition will house a relocated Barnes and Noble Bookstore as well as a two-story atrium to welcome students and guests to the University. On the third floor, a new welcome center will provide a view of campus, and the Office of Admissions will utilize the space for recruitment efforts.

Phase two will include the relocation of the catering kitchen from the second floor to the first floor, and the renovation of the vacated catering kitchen to accommodate the Dean of Students offices, the Student Involvement Center, and Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality administrative offices.

Phase three will further renovate the vacated second floor catering kitchen into a three-venue food court.

At present, the fully revitalized Bone Student Center will have six dining venues, with three on the first floor and three on the second. The first floor will house a second campus Starbucks, McAlister's Deli, and a full-scale convenience store with fresh food served daily. Plans are in the works for second-floor venues, including a grill, and restaurants with Asian and Tex-Mex cuisine.

Source: Illinois State University