A Revamped Madison Union

by Elizabeth Short

While students were enjoying their summer vacation, faculty members at James Madison University were hard at work making changes to Madison Union.

Taylor Down Under (TDU), a popular hangout spot for students went under partial redecoration this past summer. After leaving suggestion cards for students to fill out in TDU last year, Assistant Director of Madison Union, Mark Cline, and his office learned that students wanted more comfortable seating. After working with designers, furniture (couches, chairs, and tables) that complements the newly painted walls was purchased. This $18,000 project, according to Cline, “provides students with a more welcoming and comforting feeling [in TDU].” Students seem to agree with that statement; Senior Marketing major, Kelley Smith said, “The area is a lot more opening and inviting. TDU feels more like a living room and is a nice place to relax.”

Another upcoming change includes adding rugs and floor lamps to each seating area. Students will be able to control the setting of the floor lamps. This control will add to the welcoming atmosphere of TDU. These changes should be implemented by the end of the month.

To add to the “welcoming” atmosphere, student artwork is displayed along the walls of TDU, and, by the end of the month, a slideshow of student artwork will be shown on the three flat-screen TVs hung on the far wall of the entrance.

Because of the remodeling of the patio area, the Grafton and Bluestone Dr. entrances of Madison Union were closed off during the first couple weeks of classes. The patio project has been in planning since September 2009, but it wasn’t until this past spring that renovations began. This $160,000 project includes an entire makeover of the patio area. Cline called in designers to help choose paint colors for the walls and ground that coordinate the elements of the space. Last spring, suggestion cards were handed out around campus to find out what students wanted to see more of. A majority of students wanted more of the white bar tables; more bar tables, umbrellas for the round red tables, and benches were purchased for the patio area. These tables and benches will be grouped together to give a community feeling to the area. Future plans include adding a roof off of Grafton to provide a shaded area for students to enjoy.

In addition, some subtle changes were made to Madison Union, including the switch from incandescent light bulbs to LED blubs, for a more green feeling, and the installment of a new surround sound system in Grafton-Stovall Theater.

As JMU continues to change, so will Madison Union.  Student opinions are important to the faculty of Madison Union and will always be taken into consideration. Students should keep an eye out for more changes that will be taking place in the future.

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