Black Hills State University is moving forward with a planned Student Union expansion project that was approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents Friday.

The expansion project will include a new dining services area, an expanded bookstore, increased student program space, and additional lounge space throughout the building. The university is also planning to relocate student health services to this area.

“A welcoming Student Union that provides engaging opportunities is often one of the primary considerations of potential students who are considering whether to enroll,” said Jane Klug, director of student services at BHSU. “As the center of the college community, we’re the living room of the campus. The Student Union complements the academic experience through an extensive variety of cultural, educational, social and recreational programs. The union is a student-centered organization that offers first-hand experience in citizenship and educates students in leadership, social responsibility, and values.”

Williams and Associates of Spearfish have been chosen as the architect for the project. Last year the BHSU students overwhelming approved a plan to raise student fees to renovate the Student Union. The Board of Regents unanimously approved the project at their meeting this week.

Architects and consultants will be on campus this spring to do a study of needs and optimal utilization of space in the expanded building. Klug expects a ground breaking in the spring of 2008 and construction to begin that summer. She is making plans for a grand reopening of the Student Union in the fall of 2009.

“There are exciting times ahead for Black Hills State University,” Klug says. “We are making plans to celebrate our 125th anniversary in 2008 and then the following year we’ll open the expanded Student Union.” Klug noted that offices will remain in the existing portion of the Student Union throughout the construction phase.

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