Higher ed magazine awards Student Union top interi...

Higher ed magazine awards Student Union top interior design

Now a centerpiece of the Blue Raider campus, the Middle Tennessee State University Student Union has been recognized as a Gold Citation winner in the American School & University magazine’s Educational Interiors Showcase.

In this 2012 file photo, visitors make their way around MTSU's new Student Union on opening day. (MTSU photos by Darby Campbell)

In this 2012 file photo, visitors make their way around MTSU’s new Student Union on opening day. (MTSU photos by Darby Campbell)

The three-story, multipurpose building officially opened in the fall of 2012. Street Dixon Rick Architecture of Nashville designed the 211,000-square-foot structure, which serves as the primary gathering space for the university’s 23,000-plus students.

The building features Phillips Bookstore, restaurants, an 840-seat ballroom, 95-seat theater, student government parliamentary room, third-floor offices for the SGA, Student Unions and Programming and Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, lounge areas that include collaborative technology.

American School and Univ-coverAmerican School & University magazine is the information source for education facilities and business professionals — serving the nation’s K-12 and higher-education administrators responsible for education facility planning, design and management.

The Student Union was recognized in the August 2013 edition of the magazine. Contest judges noted that “each space is exciting and non-formulaic in its design solution. Personal, intimate spaces with good color choices.” Read more about the citation here.

“The MTSU Student Union was funded by students for students now and in the future,” said Sarah Sudak, associate vice president for the Division of Student Affairs and dean of students. “The Union provides a state-of-the-art living room for our students to connect to and engage with the campus community.

“Our students understood the importance of such a facility on campus, and it is wonderful that American School & University recognized their vision with the Gold Citation.”

Of the Student Union, the magazine noted that “upon entry, the stunning atrium provides an abundance of natural light, clear building organization, connection to a new quad outside and many gathering spots on the ground floor.”

Patti Miller, assistant vice president for campus planning at MTSU, was also pleased with the recognition for a centerpiece project her office oversaw.

“The Student Union was always envisioned as a home for the students, where they can meet friends, relax, study, and be a part of the many campus organizations and activities,” Miller said. “The organization of the site and building design places a focus on those gathering places from more active areas looking out over the quad, to quiet study spaces. The new Student Services and Admissions Center is the facility that will connect all student business functions with the Union, and completes the development of a true ‘one-stop’ facility for the campus.”

The 58,000-square-foot Student Services and Admissions building, which will include the “MT One Stop,” is set to open in March. It will bring admissions, financial aid, scheduling, course registration, enrollment and business office functions together under one roof. The MT One Stop will be located on the building’s second floor.

— Jimmy Hart (