More Changes to Come to Millikin University

Caitlin Husted, Senior Editor

The closing of Mills and Hessler and the renovation of the other residence halls are not the only changes taking place on Millikin’s campus in the near future. In the fall of 2017, Millikin plans to open its brand new University Center.

“It’s going to be woven in and through the library,” President Patrick White said. “The library is going to change and the University Center is going to change.”

As of now, the plan is to build onto the front of Staley library for the new University Center.

Everything that is in RTUC – the cafeteria, the Bistro, the meeting rooms, and the Office of Student Success – and everything in Staley Library will be in the new University Center, along with a few more additions.

“You will walk into the [University Center] and it could be multifunctional,” Dean of Student Development Raphaella Prange said. “There could be a lot of nooks and crannies in the building for private conversation, but most of the building will be this open space where students can really be a part of the community and engaged in the community.”

The University Center will also contain advanced and accessible technology. The goal is to have interactive whiteboards and workstations where students can hook up their laptops or iPads to project on the wall. The Millikin faculty involved in the brainstorming process wants to create a place where students are able to practice presentations, practice group work, and do things that, as of now, Millikin is unable to offer.

The idea of keeping the library and the University Center separate was explored, with the original location where RTUC currently resides. However, by combining these two, Millikin hopes to provide a “learning commons” for students who live on campus.

“Students live and learn in all different spaces and environments on campus,” Prange said. “You want to provide that living room of the campus, that heartbeat of the campus, where students can have this one stop shop to have all their academic and social needs fulfilled.”

By attaching the University Center to the library, Dean Prange suspects that it will re-focus campus and act as the front door for MU.

“If you take into consideration the location of the Woods, the location of the alumni center, and the location of the sorority houses, all of that is very west and south. And [right now] we have a very eastern place for the student center. So hopefully this will re-center campus.” Prange said.

While the timeline will be very aggressive, Prange has full confidence in President White’s leadership and the capabilities of the architects from the St. Louis firm of Hastings + Chivetta – who will be visiting campus to ask students and faculty to find out what they want from the upcoming project in the upcoming months.

The addition of the new University Center will add more than just another building to campus. By creating a space where students are encouraged to come and collaborate, learn and explore, the feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves will spread around campus.

“It’s going to be something that we’ve never seen before on the campus,” Prange said. “It’s something brand new. It’s this idea of bigger, better Millikin. It’s investing in ourselves, and it’s kind of staying on trend with other institutions.”

As Millikin embarks on the journey of rebuilding, one thing can be determined: Millikin is on a new and exciting path. With these new changes, Millikin’s future looks pretty bright.