Discontent, disconnect with EMU expansion project

Gaping holes in the ground. Construction equipment. Entrances blocked by obstructing chain link fences.

Renovation of the University of Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union is underway. But for those who feel separated from the new building’s final purpose, the overhaul presents more of an annoyance than a symbol of a better future.

“I won’t be here by the time it is finished, so I won’t be able to really enjoy it,” Victor Thang a junior and digital arts major said.

For seniors who won’t see the change, the disconnect seems especially poignant, especially since payment for the developments is coming from a $67 increase in student fees, which started last fall. 

“I’m a senior so I don’t like having to pay for it since I’m not going to be here or be able to use it,” senior art major Megan Tewalt, said.

Brook Muller’s, an associate architecture professor and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, feels uncertain about the new building’s potential, not because of a disassociation with it’s end goal but rather a disconnect with the final vision.

“I’m not overjoyed with the renderings. I would think that if you were going to tear down the building and build a new one it would be a phenomenal improvement. From what I see, I’m not convinced it will be that,” Muller said. “But I have an enormous amount of respect for the firm that’s doing the project.”

With Mueller’s respect comes optimism for the building’s summer 2016 Grand Opening date. Ultimately, for those concerned, only time will tell whether or not the new building was worth the work.

About Sami Edge

I'm just about to graduate from the journalism school at the University of Oregon and embark into the big, scary world of media. I'm originally from Reno, Nevada but willing - and eager - to travel anywhere. When I'm not geeking out about all things journalism I'm exercising or baking sugar-free goods I've found on Pinterest.
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