Expanding the UC
University Center East is the culmination of planning and construction that
began in 2008-2009, but its origins are rooted in the history of USI and the
The new facility adds badly needed space to the central campus for student
organizations, two new eateries, student commons areas and lounges (including
the Fireside Lounge and Heritage Lounge), meeting and conference facilities, and
office space for the Dean of Students, Student Development Programs, the
Multicultural Center, International Programs and Services, Center for Academic Creativity, and
Outreach and Engagement. Among the student organizations
housed in the new space are the Student Government Association, the Activities
Programming Board, Fraternity and Sorority Life, and The Shield Student newspaper.
The facility is distinguished by extensive use of local building materials,
applied in many cases in groundbreaking new ways (see Ode to
Indiana). The project also creates an architecturally distinctive
centerpiece in the 97-foot-tall conical tower. In its interior, the tower houses
additional seating for dining on the ground level. On its second level, with a
dramatic ceiling open to the top of the structure, is Traditions Lounge
honoring USI alumni.
The original University Center (now UC West) was completed in 1974 and expanded
in 1996. It was joined on its second level to the original USI library, which
opened in 1971. With the new David L. Rice Library dedicated in 2006, the former
library has now been repurposed, with many additions, as part of UC East.
Groundbreaking took place in April 2009, with a topping-off ceremony in December
of that same year. UC East brings the combined University Center to 173,904
square feet, including 59,720 of reconstructed old library and 20,815 of a new
multi-story link and tower construction. The total project cost $18.6 million.