|The David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union at Black Hills State University recently underwent major remodeling and more than doubled the previous space. Students, faculty and staff are shown enjoying the new dining area.
As students return to the Black Hills State University campus, they will be welcomed by a cadre of new faculty and staff as well as several major campus improvements.
The most visible project is the major remodeling and addition to the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union which more than doubled the amount of space and created a new unified dining area, an expanded bookstore, increased student program space, and additional meeting and study space. Community members will have an opportunity to see the building Sunday, Aug. 30 from 4-7 p.m. during Campus Community Fair. More than 45 community businesses and organizations, as well as, campus entities have signed up to take part in the community fair to welcome new students to Spearfish.
The work on the Student Union has been completed in phases to allow student access to some areas of the building as the work ensued. Dr. Jane Klug, director of student services, notes that students were involved in every stage of the planning and renovation.
“We sought the students’ input every step of the way,” Klug says. “This project became a reality as a result of students’ initiative. They voted to increase their student fees to support the addition. The students have been integrally involved in the every stage of concept, design, and planning of the building. We are excited for them to begin using the new Student Union when they return to campus this week. The Student Union will be an excellent facility for the entire campus to utilize and enjoy.”
The project, which was a five-year process beginning when students brought the construction project to a vote, has been under construction for the last year.
The Student Union project includes several sustainability components which will make it the first building on a university campus in the state to earn Silver LEED certification. A 60-foot wind turbine is located outside of the building which is a visible reminder of the campus’ commitment to sustainability. The building has several other energy saving components including a green roof, composting of food waste, and light monitor window panels that are strategically designed to maximize natural lighting.
The layout of the building, with many large windows, was designed to “bring the outside in” to highlight the exceptional views of the Black Hills. That concept was taken one step further with the interior design. Klug says that after the designers spent time on campus visiting with students, they chose to use the Native American medicine wheel as the inspiration for the color scheme incorporating the colors red, black, white and yellow. These natural colors, along with BHSU’s spirit colors, green and gold, are used throughout the building.
The new dining area is known as the Hive. Alumni and longtime BHSU community members will recognize the name as a throwback to a former lower level dining area but the name is the only similar aspect. The new dining area features a variety of dining choices including a presentation grill station (think Mongolian Grill), brick oven pizza with specialty pizzas, flatbreads and calzones; home-style cooking featuring comfort foods and daily specials; traditional fry area for burgers, chicken and steak sandwiches; a deli area with fresh made to orders sandwiches with a Panini grill and soup; and extensive salad bar choices. Dining services will be available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition to several indoor seating areas, outdoor patio seating is also available.
The Student Union also includes several conference rooms, student engagement and leadership area, and study spaces for students. Klug notes that the meeting areas were designed to promote collaborative learning and teamwork.
“We wanted this space for socialization as well as learning. It’s a place for students to gather to work together collaboratively and develop leadership skills. We encourage our students to make connections with other students as well as faculty and staff,” Klug says.
The student organization area, referred to as the student engagement and leadership center, has meeting space for the 70 plus student organizations and the office of civic engagement. This area was designed to be transitional with moveable furniture to accommodate workshops, retreats and the ever-changing needs of our students.
The BHSU Bookstore has relocated to the upper level and the sales floor is twice a big as the former area. The Bookstore has enhanced access to books and an expanded selection of art supplies as well as a greatly expanded area for gifts and apparel including new sports and career wear sections.
The final stage of construction, in the lower level, is expected to be completed this fall. The area will house the campus radio station and Club Buzz which will provide a recreational gathering space for students.
An open house will be held later in the semester when all areas are completed.