NNU starts on its new student commons.
Byline: Teya Vitu
The 1960s-era student union at Northwest Nazarene University will give way to a new 4,000-square-foot student commons more suitable for 21st century sensibilities. The Nampa university will start construction March 9 on the $16.5 million, two-story structure with an anticipated 16- to 1-month building period, said Mark Wheeler, NNUs vice president for external relations. Just with the march of time, (the existing student union) no longer addresses the needs of our students, Wheeler said. Theres only so much you can do with paint and carpet. The existing student union will be converted into academic space. The new student commons will have what Wheeler calls a white box, an open room with glass walls on two sides that can accommodate 400 people for campus meetings, dinners and chapel services. The building will also house the student life and student government offices, the university mission ministry and a new welcome center. Now the welcome center is just a part of the admissions office, Wheeler said. The student commons also will have a kitchen, cafeteria, dining, dining venues, and private and board meeting rooms. The student commons will be NNU's fourth largest structure along with the Brandt Center, the Johnson Sports Center, and the 60,000-square-foot Leah Peterson Learning Commons, the new library that opened in 2014. Wheeler said fundraising accounts for the entire $16.5 million with no use of state funding or student fees. This building will redefine what our campus looks like, Wheeler said. The designer is Credo, a Whitsett, North Carolina, and De Pere, Wisconsin, architecture firm that specializes in higher education. Hill Construction Co. of Meridian is the general contractor.
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