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Updated 11:00 AM January 9, 2006




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Regents approve design for SAB improvement

An architect's plan to upgrade the Student Activities Building (SAB) to improve service to current and future students was approved by the Board of Regents Dec. 15.
Renovations to the Student Activities Building, shown here from Thompson Street, will make the facility more user-friendly to improve service for current and future students. Open spaces will be a theme when fall construction begins. (Photo courtesy Plant Extension)

The 40,000 square-foot renovation project will involve both cosmetic changes and comprehensive remodeling. The guiding priority of the project is to make the building user-friendly by creating an open feeling within an attractive space.

"It is crucial that we put a world-class face on a facility that has such significant impact on the formation of our student body and the renovations will allow us to achieve that," says Chris Lucier, senior associate director of admissions.

Significant improvements include expanded facilities and equipment upgrades in the visitor's center for multimedia presentations targeted at prospective students and visitors.

The SAB was built in 1959 and received an addition in 1960. Another addition, the Huetwell Visitor's Center, was completed in 1996.

"The Student Activities Building is the gateway to the University for tens of thousands of prospective students and their families," Lucier says. "For many prospective students, a visit to the SAB forms an impression of the University of Michigan which will influence their decisions of whether or not to apply to U-M."

Project goals are:

• Increasing students' and visitors' ease of access to activities and services;

• Enhancing entry by inviting students and visitors into the building from both entrances. The design for renovation would create points of service and touch points so students know where to go throughout the building, and would invite students to explore the building by creating elements that impart a sense of brand image to represent the University at key building locations;

• Creating a direct line of sight from the Jefferson Street entrance to the Atrium;

• Creating a visitor location that can accommodate a large variety of multimedia material, sized proportionately to the audience being served;

• Maximizing functional space usage in the building.

The architectural firm is Gensler Architecture, Design & Planning of Detroit. Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2006 and to be completed by summer 2008.

The facility will remain open during renovation with the use of internal swing space for temporarily displaced units. The MCard/TCF office will move to the lower level.

The estimated cost of the project is $8.5 million. Approximately two-thirds of the cost will be covered by the state capital outlay program; U-M will fund the balance.

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