Archives for Space Allocation

IRC finds home in SEC

Within every project crucial decisions are made on a daily basis, a few
weeks ago one such consensus was reached concerning the International Resource
Center’s move into the SEC. Though the group was initially thought to be a part
of the building, it had changed gears and moved into MU 109 due to a lack of
sufficient space.


This move has created an even stronger “Student Experience” in the
building, adding to the one stop resource for all information about various
groups, and social events. The IRC will provide a forum for both foreign and
native students to ask questions, get answers and even complete an occasional Skype
session with loved ones back home.


A decision of this caliber has implications, in this case consuming the
space that was previously being considered as retail. According to Robyn Jones,
Assistant Director of MU Retail Food Service, there were major motives for
terminating the move to the SEC; it is an expensive operation to move, there is
not a big enough population in the SEC to bring revenue, and there wasn’t a
direct door available. Increased revenue will also be sought via the renting of
the multipurpose room (comparable in size to rooms in Dixon) located above the
big “ballroom” and adjacent to Robyn Jones new restaurant.


However, everything about this decision is working out for the better, as
the food cart once considered for the SEC has moved to the glassy part of north
porch area inside of what is now the bookstore. This allows for the use of
direct exposer to the overhead canopy, a high activity area. Furthermore by
staying in the MU East Wing the food cart is able to use the hood from the
cultural kitchen below, thus being able to create more diverse, portable foods.


This decision has tied both buildings together with a stronger link than
previously anticipated by freeing up opportunities to be more diverse and
student focused. As Eric Alexander, Director of Student Leaders and Involvement
stated, “The building [SEC] feels more like the epicenter of student activity
and engagement; It’s not where everything happens(concerts, comedians, cultural
events) but it is how people plan, lead and make that work possible.”

Latest Update from Architects

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

MU East Wing

While reviewing renovation options and cost effective strategies earlier this week, committee members, alongside Opsis architects, and Anderson engineers focused on maximizing leasable space while creating an open, experientially pleasing feel.

MU conversation highlighted committee direction. Is retail space in or out relative to the north end? Will rooms be successful and programmatically useful at their current size? Many questions arose, however top priority was awarded to the cultural kitchen under the pretense that concluding that space would allow for build out.

Homework for the next week will be the resolution of program placement in an effort to lock in individual spatial needs. Concurrently, Opsis will create a package of organized options defining expectations and scoping documents.

Craft Center

Craft Center representatives came prepared for their meeting with Opsis, equipped with a presentation highlighting all concerns, necessities, and wishes. Among many ideas presented came the preference for an LCD screen on the first floor in an effort to increase their presence throughout the building. Additionally designs were suggested for a mini store, gift gallery, and student/faculty storage among many foundational necessities.

With this information at hand, Opsis and Anderson will calculate cost difference while Craft Center representatives examine general options presented to them for the closest fit.


After looking over notes supplied by the SAPC, Opsis incorporated changes into SEC layout. Though concerns were voiced about maximum space capacities for offices, architects were quick to remind all that the building is still in the allocating stage. Once that is polished, committees will begin looking at individual group arrangements.

Questions concerning the first floor were appeased, as it was decided that the stair-style seating area would be removed, with the possibility of a food cart in its place. Additionally, in what may have been one of the most controversial discussions, it was decided that the International Resource Center would be placed in what was once retail space.

An area that hasn’t received much attention in this blog, the plaza between the MU and SEC, was highlighted during the meeting. Discussion focused on the need for a fire lane, permanent benches to help define the space, possible stage locations, stage cover and power box locations. The covered portion of the plaza will be around 60 feet by 135 feet or 8,400 square feet; however, to further plan for the space architects will need a cleared idea of what it will be used for.

Student Media

Opsis showed new floor plans for the fourth floor of the SEC to Student Media and requested feedback on their incorporation of warranted changes. A few issues arose such as the problem of mixed light coming into the TV studio, the edit bay size, need for a widow between the two radio studios, a window in the control room and the placement of a TV screen on the first floor to stream what is happening on the fourth floor.

Additionally, Student Media began discussion about a possible change of location of the stairwell which would benefit them, but sparks concern of how it would affect the arrangement of rooms on the fourth floor. 

Updated news on the antenna/microwave dish on the roof of the SEC revealed a strong possibility of the antenna tower finding a home atop a different building.  If the tower does end up on the SEC, it will be a simple pole, rising forty feet in the air, not the traditional tower currently residing on Snell Hall.

Accessibility Workshop

Opsis started this workshop with a review of the SEC project.  The design incorporates several components, historic appearance, campus flow of people, LEED certification, campus master plan and the principles of universal design.

Each floor of the building was highlight and reviewed, indicating various ADA elements incorporated into the design. Concerns from students included campus parking, ADA access from other parts of the campus to the building, ADA access on campus during construction and renovation, and emergency exits from the workspace. Other circumstances warranting attention were; location of bike parking in front of the SEC blocking foot and wheelchair flow into the building, size of restroom turn-a-round space, adaptable workspaces, and entrance over hands to cover students as they enter the building.

Architect’s Update

On Wednesday, May 9th, Opsis Architects and Andersen Construction met with representatives from the Student Experience Center for regularly scheduled meeting.  These meeting occur every other week on Wednesday and divided into different work sessions.  This week Opsis and Andersen met with SEC Space Committee, The MU East Wing Committee, the Craft Center (basement level of the SEC) and Student Media (fourth floor of the SEC).  Here are notes for those meetings.

Student Experience Center

SEC Meeting on May ninth focused on floors one through three of the Student Experience Center. Opsis architects and Anderson engineers spent last week mulling over value engineering studies which were reviewed and discussed, revealing the withdrawal of one of two large ventilation shafts.

As representatives worked through the building, each level was assessed for necessary changes. To start, ground floor discussion centered on the relocation of the kitchenette. However, the second floor revolved around the creation of a lactation room, addition of space for Diversity Development, and the reorganization of office areas in the Center for Civic Engagement.  Lastly, third floor conversation featured major changes in spatial needs warranting complete reorganization. This may mean the addition of a special session between Opsis and SEC-SAPC constituents assigned to that floor. 

Finally, an accessibility workshop scheduled for May 23rd at 3pm in Memorial Union 208 will house discussion on various ADA issues in the both the main and amphitheater style stairways.

MU East Wing Renovation

Contractors, architects, and various renovation committees met on May ninth to discuss a menu of twenty-five distinct alternatives for building layout and design. Each choice differed in allotment of square footage, tenant placement, and appropriated budget amounts.

As of recent, consensus is being reached on quite a few projects including but not limited to the renovation of the MU Ballroom ground floor bathrooms, addition of a new stair to ground floor, ramping revisions, replacement of the existing basement AHU, and an ADA lift at the Ballroom stage.

Furthermore, with a huge loss of revenue following the relocation of the bookstore, a goal has been set from the standpoint of all work groups to generate income, something that cannot be done without four revenue building businesses. With this in mind, if projects that are on the table require additional funding, they can be justified by their generation of future funds.

Craft Center (Basement Level of SEC)

The inherit conflict in last week’s meeting between Opsis and Craft Center representatives was the withdrawal of the main stairway from the fourth floor. Not only does this change the layout by adding a significant amount of lobby space but also eliminates the Craft Centers presence from upper floors.

Over the next few weeks all parties involved will mull over this obstacle, as well as project design and layout, i.e. woodshop, ventilation entities, trap drains, and hose bibs. Once the list has been back checked and corrections made to the schematic design, reconfiguration can commence.

Student Media (Fourth Floor of the SEC)

Much of the meeting between head architects of Opsis and Student Media representatives on May 9th was allocated to the reorganization of office and storage space in an attempt to create better work flow.

Also concerns were expressed about sound transfer by way of window and wall design. Representatives were quick to remind both architects and engineers of the need for floating floors in both radio and recording studios in an effort to limit sound vibration throughout the remainder of the building.

As of recent, architectural drawings include a roof antenna modeled after the current one on Snell Hall, and the possible addition of a microwave dish. However, before continuing to the historic review commission, Opsis and Anderson will spend time reviewing and incorporating the changes requested on the ninth.

SEC Space Allocation update

Student Experience Center/Space Alocation and Policy Committee (SEC/SAPC) assembly on May third dealt with issues relative to space allocation and constituent feedback.

At this point in project development assessments are being made to the most recent project sheet. Serious consideration is currently placed on the need for office space and floor plan alteration; including discussion on decreasing the size of the central stairway opening. Previously employed as a means of creating the “atrium effect,” the original idea of the open stairway was to bring natural light to all floors. However, as of recent, the flight will no longer be going through the fourth floor, offering the opportunity for size adjustment. Decorative though it is, the amount of space monopolized by such an opening warrants a great deal of money in the name of connectivity and aesthetics. 

Additionally, Craft Center spokespersons reported the need for solidification of details due to the complexity of their part of the project. With additional revisions demanding attention these representatives requested, and were granted, personal time with architects in an effort to reduce haste caused miscommunications. Meetings with Opsis will commence on Wednesday, May ninth.

SEC Architect Review

On Wednesday, April 25th, Opsis Architecture, Andersen Construction and OSU Construction Management meet with Student Experience Center and Memorial Union East Wing renovation committees. The focus was restarting the planning process after a break of a little more than year.  Below are notes from the three group meetings.  These meetings will reoccur every other week into June.

Student Experience Center

Last week marked a crucial point in design development as meetings between architects and various project committees commenced. Current effort is focused on both budget and the re-orientation of project understanding and adaptability which was stunted earlier last year during the design/programming phase. Fortunately decisions that need to be made concerning the Student Experience Center budget doesn’t appear to be impacting floor plans or square footage, but have more to do with materials, structure, furnishings, finishing, etc.

Each floor plan was reviewed for any significant changes that may have procured over the six month break, which revealed two obvious adjustments in building layout. The HSRC will no longer be located in the facility and questions have been surfaced concerning whether the mediation room will be a tenant of the SEC or MU. With that in mind, decisions about the vacant space left behind by the HSRC and determination about the mediation room location will be at the forefront of Space Allocation Committee conversations over the next two weeks.

James Meyer, Head Project Architect from Opsis provided the committee with a tentative timeline revealing the upcoming campus planning committee at the end of June and Historic Review Commission soon after. Construction is projected to begin in the fall with the intention of a January 16th 2015 completion date.

For the next two weeks, the committee will concentrate on further examination of layout and the “Detailed Project Program” book. Questions, concerns, and alterations will need to be communicated as soon as possible in order to revise assumptions on current spatial needs and desires.

MU East Wing Renovation

On April 25th, the MU East Wing Committee and Architects from Opsis assembled to discuss the most difficult yet pertinent issue in any construction project, the budget. With legislature permitting a maximum amount of $9,177,500 for the project and ACCO projected costs amounting to $14,733,588, drastic cuts are warranted.

Due to its smaller renovation, the Memorial Union has a much more challenging delta than the Student Experience Center. A refresher in site/building analysis opened up discussion of possible changes in programming and schematic designs that could alleviate financial pressure. These consisted of tenant locations, as well as overall facility furnishing, engineering, and floor plan. The reorientation of project details is significant in that it affects both the large concern, being the Historical Review, and small yet noteworthy points such as duct work and ceiling consistencies.

Discussion on the construction of the second Ballroom was long-lasting as ideas flowed concerning space partitioning, external features and acoustical criteria. The thought behind this, and all other aspects of the renovation, is to include the least amount of things possible in an attempt to avoid future manipulations and increase room flexibility.  

Another important aspect of the MU renovation is the accessibility and connectivity of the facility. With the addition of new stairs to increase pedestrian flow as well as a mezzanine level exit, elevator, and expanded Jefferson street entrance, the renovated east wing is planned to be one of the most user-friendly places on campus.

Over the next few weeks, it will be the primary priority of the Mu East Wing Committee to examine every aspect of the renovation project and find what can be cut out or done in a different way.  The meeting on Wednesday wasn’t meant for decision making but instead the brainstorming of possible modifications. Finding 30-40% of the budget is quite the job but as James Meyers, Head Architect of Opsis said, “It’s a big number, which just means we need big ideas about what to do.”

Student Media Center (SEC 4th Floor)

A Meeting on April 25th between Student Media and architects from Opsis examined priorities for construction progress over the next couple of weeks. On Wednesday, primary attention was spent on scope perception and the understanding of technology deliverance and appliance. At this time, input is exceedingly valuable, where as in six months it will be more difficult to incorporate into the project.

Discrepancies in the rough floor plan and schematic final were revealed, illuminating a need for the review and resolution of layout desires. Current plans feature an open space with areas of privacy for ad sales and confidential conversations.

As of today, time is being taken to further discuss the details, and a document is being drawn up of adjacencies and so forth. Over the next two weeks project leaders will work to confirm that the most recent spreadsheet is correct while architects look over discrepancies and create images of open and private offices.

SEC Planning & Construction Postponed

The Oregon Legislature needed to approve of the SEC/MU project to give OUS the authorization to proceed with bond sales and therefore the construction.  For the past several weeks, we have been answering questions about the project, as legislative members on the House Ways and Means Capital Construction Committee raised them with OSU officials.  I regret to inform you that the committee failed to include the SEC/MU project in HB5006.  This will cause us a significant delay that will postpone the completion of our Design Development Phase scheduled to begin in July for an undetermined number of months and also delay construction completion beyond our desired summer of 2013.   The failure to approve of a non-State funded construction project is unusual.  I cannot recall a similar situation in my twenty-five years, but there’s a first time for everything.

The delay has many complicating side effects that we are still trying to measure.  The most important message that I can give you now is that we will not give up pursuing what the students of the institution have legitimately approved through their vote.  We have followed every procedural expectation over the five-year path to get to this point.  Likewise, we must also learn to adjust our planning with this delay…no matter how much we each may feel the disappointment or dislike the effects.  Today will feel insignificant when we compare it to the elation of stepping into these new program homes for the first time or the benefits that will come from the collaborations and improved resources for highly valued student experiences

Michael Henthorne, Director OSU Memorial Union

Minutes, Updates, Pictures and Presentations

There have been updates to both the Consulting Firm’s Minutes link and the Construction Committee link.  Both are at the top of the SEC & MU Planning & Construction homepage.  The minutes on the Consulting Firm’s link are from Opsis Architect’s last visit.  They include proposal for the layout of the SEC, what has been referred to as “Blocking & Stacking”.  These can give you a working idea of how the building might be organized.  There are also pictures of student committee members providing impute on the different concepts.

On the Construction Committees link is minutes from their last meeting were they discussed the use of under floor ductwork and LEED Certification standards and options.  There will be more on the under floor system in the next post.  They have also posted a presentation by consultants for energy-efficient and sustainable buildings.  Giving the committee members more background and knowledge as we move closer to the construction phase.

Consultant’s Meeting Minuets

The latest minutes from the SEC consultants have been posted.  You can find them, along with past minutes by clicking on the “Consulting Firm’s Minutes” tab at the top of the homepage.  These minutes include conversations about the Craft Center, Our Little Village, HSRC, Food Pantry, Safe Ride, Student Media and more.  Quick Link


How many of you saw the movie “Field of Dreams”?  Remember the in end of the film when James Earl Jones’ character gets invited into the cornfield where the baseball players go?  Into the Great Unforeseen?  Remember how he first sticks a hand into the corn, feeling the leaves, then quickly withdraws it, giggling nervously?  Then, he walks bravely into his future while the camera does a cutaway back to the present.

That’s where we are, Right Now.  Our design efforts have been like a whole covey of James Earl Jones characters reaching into that cornfield, grasping onto nothing, giggling, nervously, waiting for answers to our questions about where we’ll end up and what we’ll do and who’ll be in there and who won’t.

What?  Why is that?

The answer is that we have not completed Step One yet.  So, at present, we find ourselves still standing on the edge of that cornfield, peering in, while waiting for whatever comes next.

What exactly does come next?

Remember, we are James Earl Jones here.  We have to let the ballplayers guide us into the future.  We have to finish gathering and providing information to the architect team so they can begin converting that information into sizes and shapes in space.  That conversion process then comes back to us to review, suggest, change and finally ensure it is accurate enough to complete Step One, which is when we begin to discover the size, shape and layout of the building.  Then, having completely entered that cornfield, that Great Unknown, we will be able to see what our efforts have gained us in vision and certainty.

Then what, you might ask?

Step Two is further investment into the process of making the form of the building take shape.  We team up with the ballplayers (B&D), and stride further into the cornfield, hoping to determine whether all that initial fear and nervousness was warranted when the corn leaves first tickled our forearms and we felt alone, nervous and uncertain.

What exactly are we doing here?

We are participating in that age-old phrase, “Form Follows Function”.  We are making the building take form.  Together with B&D (the ballplayers), we are giving the building its shape as we work the information collection process and meet to discuss and verify our collective vision. 

This is how that is done for every building, though most efforts don’t attract quite this size of a stakeholder crowd.  So our work is like baseball in another sense:  there we stand in right field.  The other stakeholders are in their positions in the infield, in center field, behind home plate:  chewing gum, squinting into the sun, waiting for the windup to begin…the sun is warm, a bee is grazing nearby clover, the sky is so blue it hurts your eyes to look at it (Moonlight Graham, right, Julia?)…then – CRACK!  A LINE DRIVE COMING YOUR WAY!  It’s your turn to make a decision!  What do you say?

If you want a building to learn how to be, you have to pay its tuition in making decisions.  This small piece of writing is like that.  Why did I pick the cornfield?  I needed a symbol to convey the utter powerlessness we have to control the future.  The future is unknown to us.  Or as one of my favorite authors put it:

 “The future is no more controllable than it is predictable.  The only reliable attitude to take towards the future is that it is profoundly, structurally unavoidably perverse.  The rest of the iron rule is:  whatever you are ready for, doesn’t happen; whatever you are unready for, does.”                         -Stewart Brand

So this exercise we are engaged in is the first step towards identifying our future.  All we know for certain now is 4 walls and a roof.  The rest comes one step at a time.

Stakeholder Conversations

On Tuesday, January 18th and Wednesday January 19th, space planning consultants Brailford & Dunlavey held conversations with stakeholders and committee members of the Student Experience Center (SEC) and Memorial Union (MU). The groups were asked questions about their services, programs and how they interact with the student body. The stakeholders that were interviewed in this round of conversations were:

ASOSU Legal Services
Childcare & Family Resources
Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS)
Craft Center
Cultural Kitchen
Diversity Development
Greek Life
Human Services Resource Center (HSRC)
International Students of OSU/International Resource Center
LGBT Outreach
MU Building Services
MU East Wing Committee
MU Event Services
MU Marketing, Assessment & Graphics Studio
Student Leadership and Involvement (SLI)
Student Media: Daily Barometer, KBVR FM, KBVR TV
Student Sustainability Initiative

The Space Allocation and Policy Committee is currently taking request for space for new space, programs or organizations. The deadline is Wednesday, January 26th at noon. You can find the application at:, click of the “FORM: Space Request” tab at the top of the site.

OSU Bookstore Move

The construction timeline for the Student Experience Center (SEC) is tied to move of the OSU Bookstore. There is a great article in the Barometer on Thursday, January 13 about how this process is going. Here is a link to the story titled “Bookstore searches for new campus location”.

The Daily Barometer has done an excellent job of keeping the student population informed about the condition of Shell Hall, which houses many student services and programs. They have followed the process of student leaders looking at different solutions up to the current plan to replace Snell Hall with the SEC. You can see an archive of Barometer stories related to this topic by going to the tap at the top of this site titled “Barometer Articles”. It starts in May of 2003 and goes up to the present.

SEC Planning Begins

On Tuesday evening, January 4th, the planning processes for the Student Experience Center (SEC) began it first phase. Management of the planning process will be supported by three consulting teams

OSU Campus Planning & Development
(Larrie Easterly, Project Manager)
Brailsford & Dunlavey
Opsis Architecture

You can see the process sequence and timeline at the Planning Process tab at the home page of this site.

Space Allocation Meeting Wednesday

Several meetings in the upcoming months will decide who gets what in the new SEC building. Read about it in today’s Barometer.

Space Planning Committee

Responsible for the space plan, occupancy and collaboration with architects to develop the SEC interior office, program and service areas. This group will meld into a policy recommendation group at the conclusion of the building programming phase.

SEC Construction Committee

Responsible for construction coordination, general purpose and public space planning, construction budget, timelines and minimizing impact on campus and using sustainable systems/finishes. Coordinates w/ architects for historical district fit, LEED certification, and public space planning.

Memorial Union East Wing Committee

Responsible for MU space plan, occupancy recommendations and collaboration with architects to program the MU East Wing and any other space necessary to serve remaining Snell programs not housed in the SEC. Make recommendations on vacancies in MU created by relocation to SEC.