Students gather for Coffman closing

by Nathan Whalen

An intimate group of 20 students, many of whom worked for Coffman Union, celebrated its closing Wednesday afternoon and the start of two years of renovations.
Master of ceremonies Michael Holland, Coffman board president, recognized the architecture students who contributed to the union’s new design during the celebration.
A 1940 time capsule was also opened during the groundbreaking ceremony — the third one of the day.
Student services fees will cover $37 million of the $50 million renovation. A former member of the Coffman board handed a big, glossy check to the board’s present members.
People at the event remembered the seventies by playing Gloria Gaynor’s, “I Will Survive.” The recording was enclosed in the capsule at the time of the union’s last renovation in 1976.
The original Coffman plans, bicentennial coins, a 1976 photo of the board of governors and an audio tape of a meeting discussing students’ union concerns were also featured.
“The seventies renovation really messed things up,” said Jeremiah Mason, a College of Liberal Arts freshman.
The renovation will restore aspects of the original design. A two-story fireplace lounge will be added and the union’s large front windows will be removed.
Tony Armlin, a liaison to the University’s Board of Regents, said the new design will not abandon the union’s past.
The renovation will also tie the union in with the Riverbend Commons project. Construction workers will install large windows in order to improve the view of the Mississippi River.

Nathan Whalen covers construction and facilities. He welcomes comments at [email protected].