Welcome back Redbirds.
Another school year is here and a lot of change has occurred since the last time the campus was full of ’Birds. With new additions, building improvements and everything in between, there is a lot to catch up on.
Here’s what is new around the campus of Illinois State University.
A fresh look at the Bone Revitalization
Illinois State’s Facilities Planning and Construction and CORE have been busy over the summer months putting in work on the Bone Student Center Revitalization.
Bill Legett, Director of Event Management, Dining and Hospitality said he is very pleased with the progress that has been made on the project.
“CORE and Illinois State’s Facilities Planning and Construction have both done an outstanding job of keeping the project on schedule,” Legett said. “We’re thrilled to welcome all students back … and hope they enjoy seeing the progress we’ve made.”
According to Legett, the first floor concourse is now open and students will be able to walk throughout the entire concourse. The new east side entrance of the Bone Student Center (with direct access from the parking lot) is open now just in time for the first day of classes.
Legett explained that students, faculty, staff and guests will be able to enter the Bone Student Center and access Milner Plaza by utilizing the interior stairwell or elevator located just inside the new east entrance.
In the spring of 2020, several Dean of Students offices will join Diversity Advocacy by moving to second floor of the Bone Student Center, including Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Activities and Involvement and University Program Board, Legett said.
They also anticipate the completion of the revitalization’s third phase, which will include the opening of two new retail venues, a grill and an Asian concept, also on the second floor. The restaurant names will be announced soon. “We are very excited to bring these restaurants to the Bone Student Center,” Legett said.
They expect the completion of the first floor concourse, including all partner spaces, to be complete by the end of March 2020. This includes the new TechZone, Redbird Card Office, Printing Services and Illinois State Credit Union spaces that will all be on the first floor.
There is not a timeline set for the work on the second level concourse, which will include the Career Center and several huddle rooms, but they are hopeful to start that project by summer 2020.
ISUPD welcomes new member to team
It’s “impawsible” to ignore the Illinois State University Police Department’s new community dog, Sage.
After meeting its fundraising goal in July, the ISUPD began the process of adopting Sage for student comfort and support. The dog is not trained to drug sniff or attack, but she does love to greet visitors excitedly, according to ISUPD’s twitter account.
Sage is now exploring campus with her fellow officers and meeting as many people as possible. The two year old black lab completed 1,250 hours of training with Supporting Independence through Teamwork Service Dogs before being approved for her important position at ISUPD. Most of Sage’s training was completed on Southern Illinois University-Carbondale’s campus, making her far more experienced than a typical freshman.
“We know that this is a new home for them [students], and we want to make them feel as welcome in that home as possible,” said ISUPD budget and social media manager Laura Fox.
Students have advocated for more recycling options for several years as off-campus apartments did not provide recycling receptacles.
Last summer, a group of students took things to the next level and obtained 3,000 student signatures in support of a recycling ordinance that would require all multi-family and student housing complexes to provide recycling bins as part of their waste removal services.
The ordinance was passed with a 4-2 vote as some council members heard concerns from landlords about students recycling improperly. In the past, landlords have seen charges because of contamination when students don’t recycle the right way.
City Manager Pamela Reece said the Town of Normal is working on efforts to help educate students on how to recycle properly.
“The Town is proud of our sustainability efforts and we appreciate the initiative of the students to move forward with this ordinance,” Reece said. “We also appreciate ISU’s sustainability efforts to partner with the community in a leadership role.”
According to the town council action report, the ordinance requires that receptacles be in a designated storage area. In most cases the recycle collection will occur at the designated storage area. The ordinance went into effect Aug. 1.
New year, new seats
Another project that was in the works over the summer was the Redbird Arena Seating Enhancement Project.
The project is an upgrade to the current seating of Redbird Arena’s lower bowl. The original seats to the building’s initial construction were removed to allow for “necessary” revitalization, according to ISU Athletic Director Larry Lyons.
The gutting occurred over the summer, allowing the project to start from scratch in an effort to create a more comfortable and “intimate” seating space for students, fans and visitors of the university.
“We were unable to secure replacement seat parts at first and we were given a timeline that would take us many months past this year,” Lyons said. “This will be the first major renovation to wear and tear on a licensed building [at ISU]. We’ve seen a good 30 years with the lower bowl, so it was time.”
At this time the new seats are in place, but the arena is barred off as the work continues. Included in the enhancement will be additional courtside seats, loge seating, wider aisles with handrails, larger seats and a new numerical system to locate sections, tossing the arena’s former letter organization.
The home bench will also be moved to the south end, allowing the home and visiting teams to come out of the opposite tunnels at the beginning of the game which is great for the handshake, according to Lyons.
“But it’s more convenient to have teams come out adjacent to their bench,” Lyons added.
The project timeline is on track to be unveiled at the Redbird volleyball’s home-opener Sept. 13.