Student Union renovations expected to be completed by early October


Photo by Jade Williams

The decision to renovate the Bollinger Student Union was made in the spring of 2019 after a donation was made by Boysie Bollinger.

Bollinger donated $300,000 to renovate the union. His sibling then donated another $25,000. The university put in the remainder of the money needed to make the renovations possible.

The university decided to have an open call for proposals. The architect firms were told to send designs of the space, with a budget of $450,000.

The contract was awarded to Architects Southwest. The decision was made through a process of interviews and meetings that included student representation.

“We concluded that Architects Southwest had the best plan. It was open concept. It was bright. It was clean,” Jay Clune, Nicholls State University President, said.

The contract was given to the company just as summer started. However, the university hosted camps and conferences, which made starting construction difficult.

Clune said in July, the bidding process was still being completed. After the process of bidding was completed, the contract was given to Talbot Construction, which is a local company.

The university had to go through multiple steps before construction could begin.

“We would have loved to start in June; it’s just that the processes and the fact that we are a 365 day a year institution made that difficult,” Clune said.

Clune said there was a discussion about whether the construction should start in August or be put off until the holidays. In the fall semester, the university begins its recruitment period. The decision was made to start the renovations in time for the recruiting season.

“We didn’t want to miss that recruiting season because students are our lifeblood,” Clune said.

Clune wanted to make sure that while the renovations were being completed, students still had access to the things they needed.

“We said look, what can we keep open and renovate this union? What can we do to make this situation livable for students?” Clune said.

The university knew the cafeteria would be able to stay open. Clune said they knew they would be able to keep the Colonels Retreat, The Grid, and the bookstore open.

“Renovations on the student union should be complete come early October, but students shouldn’t worry about access to food because alternative arrangements for its vending have been made,” Terry Braud, vice president for finance and administration, said.

Clune said they decided to hang hammocks outside of the union for students to use while the union is being renovated.

According to Clune, the furniture will be moved back into the union the day the project is completed. As of right now, the old furniture would be put back into the union because phase two of the union renovations would involve new furniture.

The construction company was given 75 days to complete the project. The estimated deadline is Oct. 11, 2019. As of right now, Clune expects that deadline to be met.

“It was a time-consuming process. We wanted to get it right, we wanted to be efficient and economical and we wanted to make sure we had it open for current students, as soon as possible, and for our future students before they come for open houses,” Clune said.