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OUC anticipates renovation and expansion

The OUC is due for major renovations.
The OUC is due for major renovations.

The Occhiato University Center at CSU-Pueblo is anticipating an expansion and renovation. The building is currently the location for the student bookstore, the ballroom, offices, classrooms and cafeteria.

Renovation of the OUC will be the latest installment in a recent series of construction projects on campus, including construction of the General Classroom Building in 2014 and renovation of the library in 2011.

“The major addition will be to the east of the existing building in about half of the existing wide grassy area. Only an estimated 10 parking spaces will be lost at the existing north lot behind the building, and will be recovered by reconfiguring striping in the existing lot,” said John Barnosky, director of Planning and Construction at CSU-Pueblo.

Though the building fit the needs of previous years, as the university expands and grows, it will need to be updated accordingly. Barnosky said the building will be completely remodeled to offer more features to fit the university’s current needs.

“A new major ballroom, pre-function Hearthwell Lounge, and all new food service main kitchen will be in the new addition to the east,” Barnosky said. “Then, entire existing building, all three levels, will be completely remodeled with a new bookstore, new modern dining facility with ‘mini-restaurants’ themes for variety, all new student lounges, student group spaces with high visibility on the main floor and new entrances at the south and west.”

Barnosky said construction on the OUC is already underway.

Barnosky said, “It has already begun — The architect/contractor team has been preparing design and construction plans for the past seven months. The actual construction will begin in mid-to-late October,” he said.

Phase one of the project is completion of the new ballroom, which will be located to the east of the existing building. Its construction will take 12 months and should be completed in October 2016, Barnosky said.

“Phase two, renovation of the entire existing OUC building, will run from December 2016 until March of 2018,” he said.

Barnosky said the construction and renovation of the OUC will have many benefits for students, faculty and the community of Pueblo once it is completed.

“This student-fee and grant-funded project will make it possible for community-use meetings and functions to be held without disrupting of student lounge spaces or student services and functions,” Barnosky said. “It will energize and modernize a drab and deteriorating building, provide a bigger ballroom with 20-foot-high ceilings, contain a new sound and Audio Visual system, improve food service delivery, provide dedicated student ‘hang-out’ space for students, and generally provide a center hub for the campus.”

None of the construction should disrupt any of the students or faculty on campus; there are only a few temporary staff relocations located on different parts of the campus. Once the first phase of construction is over, the relocated staff will be able to return to the OUC.