Following the opening of the Student Activity Center in January of 2011, the University Unions turned its sights to the Texas Union and began a series of construction projects. These projects served a variety of purposes: necessary updates to the building, including the installation of a sprinkler system, upgrading the technology offered in meeting rooms, doing needed repairs to continue the full functionality of the building for the upcoming years, and making much needed improvements to the lounge spaces to better serve campus.
Now, just over one year after the Texas Union construction project began, we are pleased to reopen all of the building spaces for the campus community. Below is a list of some of the improvements that the Union will have to offer:
New furniture! The chairs in the third floor loggia area have been reupholstered and half have been replaced with new high-end recliners. These recliners will also be grouped with small end tables and floor lamps to create a relaxing study atmosphere. There will also be all new dining furniture in the Forty Acres Room and Pearce Hall, the seating areas on the second floor.
In three of our meeting/event rooms; the Santa Rita Room, Quadrangle Room, and Board of Directors Room, we have installed significant audio-visual upgrades that include built in electronic screens, LCD projectors and speakers. The Board of Directors room also includes new chairs and a new conference table that is wired for electricity for laptops.
A view of the new ballroom floor in the Texas Union
Be sure to look at the floors on the third and fourth levels! The carpet in the public spaces on these levels has been replaced. In addition to carpet, the wood floors in the Quadrangle Room and the Ballroom have been replaced and improved. The wood is a white maple and installed in a circular pattern that matches the original Ballroom pattern.
Safety upgrades were an integral part of the project. The entire building was equipped with a sprinkler system to meet fire codes. This installation was done in conjunction with historic preservationists and all measures were taken to ensure that the historic integrity of the building was preserved in this process. Also, fire exits were added to west side of the Ballroom for enhanced safety in the event of an emergency.
New seating options in the third floor loggia
If you enter campus at 24th Street and Guadalupe, you will notice the Union’s new north end patio and seating areas. As this has become a major entrance to the UT campus due to the high volume of apartment and housing construction at west campus, the Unions decided to create an attractive patio and outdoor lounge space to make the north end of the building a destination for students as they enter or leave campus. This patio will include a new trellis and patio furniture that matches the east patio and compliments the adjacent Barbara Jordan Statue and the Battle Oaks. It also will include directional signage, architectural lighting features, and banners that will highlight Union events.
An architectural drawing of what the Texas Union north patio will look like when renovation is completed
We hope that the next time you are on campus you stop by the Texas Union to grab a bite to eat, take a moment to rest, and explore what is new!