Construction is underway to renovate the Hub into a vibrant space with plasma televisions, booths and a nightclub or sports bar-like atmosphere.
The first phase of remodeling, which will run through Jan. 15, will focus on rebuilding the concert stage and upgrading its electronics. The transformation will include installing new stage lighting and replacing the previous television system with nine plasma screens dispersed throughout the Hub.
According to Associated Students Program Board and University Center Director Alan Kirby, in addition to revamping the concert stage, phase one of the Hub’s makeover will also tackle the dining portion’s aesthetics, installing elevated booths and a variety of new seating arrangements for students and customers.
“I want the end result to be a night club or sports bar-like atmosphere that brings a better all-around feel to the Hub,” Kirby said.
Wendy’s, Chilitos and Panda Express will remain open throughout the duration of the construction period, and construction will pause between 12 and 1 p.m. to allow for a quiet lunch hour. Alternative seating will also be provided upstairs and outside.
“My goal is to achieve a positive and consistent alternative to the night life in Isla Vista,” Kirby said. “[I want to] bring in more late night programming every Friday and Saturday night.”
Kirby said he wants the revamped Hub to have a more alluring atmosphere that will attract an increased number of students to the gathering place.
The initial bid for the Hub’s remodeling, sent out to contractors in the spring, was over the project’s budget so the project was broken into two phases.
Richard Sloven, chairman of the UCen Governance Board, said the project is funded by a combination of student fees and UCen revenue. The Students’ Initiative, passed in October, allocated increased campus-based fees to both the UCen Governance Board and the Associated Student Program Board for the Hub remodel. Kirby said the board has $300,000 set aside to revamp the area.
The second phase of construction, which will begin Spring Quarter, will devote six weeks to replacing the concrete flooring with tile.
The current floor, which extends to the lagoon patio, was built in the 1960s. Kirby said the space needed to be updated.
“[The flooring is] outdated and must be replaced in order to create a much nicer dining area, rather than an empty cafeteria,” Kirby said.
Fourth-year English major Kate Bonanno said she rarely uses the Hub in its current form, and thinks the remodeling will benefit the school.
“I never come down here,” Bonanno said. “I believe this change is going to be a really good thing for our campus.”