To draw in new students and keep existing ones, universities across the country work to improve dining, housing, and recreational facilities. Colorado State University-Pueblo is no exception, adding a new educational building and a new sports field in 2015, and next on the list is a renovation of the Occhiato University Center.
Over the last 73 years, CSU-Pueblo has evolved from a junior college serving the city of Pueblo, to a comprehensive, regional university offering a variety of degree programs.
While the current OUC remains stuck in the trendiness of years passed, students Tuesday offered the architects their thoughts on the designs and renovations during a feedback discussion.
Joseph Miller, a freshman engineering student, said, “I would like to see more use of technology in this building. Being raised around decent technology, it would be nice to see more incorporation of technology throughout this building.”
“I really like the more futuristic designs in these renovation plans,” he said, “I think, right now, the building is outdated. Renovations would definitely help during tours and be more appealing to student prospects.”
The OUC’s primary purpose is to serve as the “living room” for CSU-Pueblo students, where they can have a meal, attend a club meeting, check out the campus bookstore or gather with friends.
During the discussions, one student requested more lounge areas in the OUC.
“They tried to do that a little bit, but these couches are old and not very comfortable. Whereas in the LARC, it’s more comfortable and cozy, and there’s coffee there. So I feel like if they can bring more of that aspect to the OUC, then more students would come.”
Genesis, a sophomore at CSU-Pueblo said, “I feel like this building needs to be more welcoming. I would like to see more recreational areas with pool tables and things where students can come hang out between classes and kill time. Right now, it doesn’t seem like a place where anyone would want to go and hang out. It’s just dead.”
According to some students, the library on campus is the choice hangout spot for most students, offering comfort, liveliness and a modern atmosphere.
“I currently spend a lot of time at the library hanging out, and I think if the OUC offered a more relaxed and cool atmosphere, I would spend more time here,” one student said.
Sam Hughes, a junior transfer student, said, “I don’t come to the OUC very often. There’s not a whole lot of reasons for me to come here, and the LARC is so available that I’m not eager to come here. I would like to see the OUC become more available to the students because if I were to want to come here and do something there’s not a whole lot of room.”
Improvements to the OUC will create a gathering place for students, which is a desired destination rather than a required stop.
“I’m a wrestler, so I have a lot of spare time on campus waiting for practice after classes. I go to the Rec Center sometimes, but a lot of the time I get bored and don’t know what to do. I would definitely come to the OUC more often if there was more to do,” Hughes said.
Tanner Thomas, a freshman at CSU-Pueblo, said, “I would be more inclined to come here if there was more recreational stuff to do. I voted for this idea of having pool tables and cool hangout spots. I haven’t really been too eager to go downstairs and check stuff out because I feel like its boring and plain.”
An updated OUC will provide a technological and comfortable environment that promotes the university’s ability to remain on the cutting edge. The renovations will provide flexible space so the physical environment can change to accommodate future growth and trends.
In the planned renovations, there will be an improvement to the image of the facility, making it more inviting and welcoming to the students, faculty, staff and community.
Students would also like to see more done in the cafeteria.
Sophomore Eliana Taylor said, “I like some of these designs with more open dining areas with booths that make it look like a restaurant, and not just like everyone is shoved into a table somewhere. I feel like the dining hall is really crowded right now, and you have to worry about bumping into someone’s seat.”
Others requested a more modern environment found in sports bars while some were looking for a cozy place to grab a bite to eat.
Overall, the university hopes to promote unity among students with the renovations of the OUC by “providing a welcoming environment supportive of gathering spaces for student enrichment.”
Leisure space will be expanded to promote interaction among students, faculty and staff making the OUC the “hearth stone” of the campus.