Oklahoma State University begins renovation, restoration of Student Union ballroom

Renovations began on Oklahoma State University's Student Union's ballroom last month, shortly after graduation. OSU officials expect the project to be finished in early fall, shortly after the semester begins.
by Silas Allen Published: June 1, 2012

— Even as they put the finishing touches on the rest of the building, crews are beginning work on a signature piece of Oklahoma State University's Student Union.

Renovations began on the Student Union's ballroom in May, shortly after OSU's graduation, university spokeswoman Carrie Hulsey-Greene said. OSU officials expect the project to be finished in early fall, shortly after the semester begins.

The $63 million renovation of the Student Union began in April 2010, and while most of the project is complete, workers are only now beginning work on the area around the building's ballroom.

In addition to the ballroom itself, that phase of the project includes renovations to the hallway outside the ballroom, the nearby French Lounge and the west porch, a landing that overlooks the Edmon Low Library lawn.

Student Union Director Mitch Kilcrease said the ballroom is one of the more prominent parts of the building. The ballroom is original to the building, Kilcrease said, and in its early days, it provided one of the only social meeting spaces on campus.

That status as a gathering space meant the room carried emotional weight for many who passed through the university, he said.

Before the ConocoPhillips Alumni Center and the Wes Watkins Center were built, the ballroom hosted most alumni functions on campus.

Since the building opened in 1950, the ballroom has also seen heavy use for weddings. The adjacent west porch tends to be a popular spot for marriage proposals, Kilcrease said.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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