Union House undergoes dramatic changes
The Union House is seeing major changes take place over summer.
The Union has announced that the Union House – home to the Hive and LCR – is being renovated over summer.
The announcement comes following developments earlier in the year, including the launch of ‘Unio’, UEA’s own brand of coffee. Improvements look set to continue throughout the academic year as the Union “invests in facilities to transform the student experience.”
The Union states it is giving the concrete a “scrub-down” to make way for freshers, creating a brand new social learning and coffee space in the Hive. Building work will continue throughout the year until Christmas, limiting use of the Square.
The Hive will see major changes, with a new exhibition and stall area for students to promote events, societies and activities for Welcome Week in September. The Box Office and Advice Centre functions have been relocated to the Union House and will be converted into coffee and social learning spaces.
Changes have also been made to the seating and layout of the Red and Blue bars, with more work set to take place in autumn.
Once students have settled in, the Union will create an open-plan work space on the first floor of Union House, offering space for committee members and activists to run events and gain support. A brand new media centre will also be opening on November 1st.
Livewire’s Head of Daytime Programming and Non-Portfolio Officer Tom Etheridge told the Tab: “The renovations to Union House will see Livewire, UEA:TV and Concrete move from the studios where it has been based for the previous 24 years into a new media hub. For Livewire this means we will get new office and editing space, and two new studios which will offer higher levels of soundproofing.”
He added: “Thanks to the UEA 50th Annual Fund Award to the media hub project, these studios will be equipped with industry-standard equipment and software, including new mixing desks, playout system and microphones.
“The renovations should also mean that more Union spaces than last year will be able to play Livewire, and with Wi-Fi in accommodation we should be able to reach more people than ever before.” Livewire can be listened to at livewire1350.com and more information about the society can be found at SocMart.
The Union says that the focus of the renovations is to give space to clubs, societies and students by reducing the number of staff offices. The rooms will be refurbished and returned for student use during the academic year.
In Easter 2015, the Union will start refurbishing the rest of Union House, adding new systems to the LCR (we pity those of you living in Nelson Court!), re-painting the building and adding a brand new Student Gatway to campus at the bottom of Bus Stop hill.
A Union spokesman told the Tab: “Last year, having seen other campuses, the Union Officers recognised that the Union’s facilities could be improved and ran a ‘What If?’ campaign designed to get a student input on the building and persuade the university to invest. This summer’s work is the first phase of that investment.”
Plans are also underway to create a dedicated postgraduate centre on Level 1. Postgraduate Officer Liam McCafferty told us: “We are really excited to be developing the UK’s first student-run, dedicated centre for Postgraduates. Postgraduate students are a diverse bunch and we are using this opportunity to develop a space that properly reflects that.
“The space is not set to launch until next year, so whilst there may be some minor disruptions to the current Grad Bar space later this year, most of the work will take place over the summer of 2015.”
What do you think of the changes? Let us know in the comments section.