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updated: 9/8/2017 3:24 PM

NIU plans $20 million renovation to campus student center

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DEKALB, Ill. -- Plans are underway for $20 million in renovations at Northern Illinois University's campus student center.

The Holmes Student Center hasn't had any major renovations since it was built more than 50 years ago, the (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reported .

Holmes staff, the Division of Student Affairs, student focus groups and other consultants have been looking at ways to revitalize the facility since 2014, said Ian Crone, director of the student center. He said a main goal is to make navigating the building easier.

"Because it was built in several different phases, it can be at times a very confusing building," Crone said. "We need to address that and make students feel like it is a very inviting building."

Other renovation aspects include a revitalized bookstore, a redesigned facility entrance, new dining options, more lounge space and the relocation of various organizations. Crone said the planning team is figuring out how to ensure the continuity of services during the renovation.

"We're working closely with the bookstore staff to look at how they can serve the campus when their level is taken offline," he said. "We're going to be conscientious in communicating with the community on how they can access the building."

The school is planning to pay for the renovations entirely with Build America Bonds, which are reserved for construction projects and meant to prevent the university from relying on tuition or fees for funding.

Designs are still in progress and are pending approval from the NIU Board of Trustees. Work is expected to start in the summer of fall of next year and will be finished by fall of 2019.

NIU spokesman Joe King said trustees have been briefed on the project and will receive a final proposal at their Nov. 16 meeting.

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Information from: The Daily Chronicle, http://www.daily-chronicle.com

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