Food court, bowling alley, ballrooms, meditation room, bank, bicycle repair shop—the UW’s Husky Union Building has always boasted amenities for students, and that hasn’t changed with the remodel, which has kept the HUB closed to students since the summer of 2010. Financed through a bond passed by a vote of the student body, and paid for through each student’s activity fee, the HUB remodel represents UW students coming together to make something beneficial to decades of future Dawgs.
The HUB’s lobby has been opened up, with the floors above being cut out to make an enormous, window-lined atrium, filled with natural light. There are plenty of nooks, tables and meeting rooms for students to use for study sessions, organizing meetings, or just to hang out. However, while a lot has changed in the new HUB, there are still many connections to the building’s past. The bowling alley remains, and a games room, featuring rows of pristine pool tables, has been expanded. The massive 1949 mural has been relocated, and now enjoys pride of place near the entrance.
Along with beautifying the HUB, the remodel will also unify the plumbing and HVAC systems of the three main sections of the building—previously only imperfectly coordinated—making the HUB more efficient and eco-friendly. The new climate control system piggybacks on the nearby power plant’s cooling system, drawing heat from the plant’s outgoing hot water, and cooling the air using the plant’s incoming chilled water. This helps reduce the building’s carbon emissions by 90 percent, saves money on heating and cooling costs, and has helped score the building a gold rating from LEED, the green energy certification organization.
As well as a place for students to eat, play, study and hang out, the HUB also hosts the many registered student organizations (RSOs) that make campus life so vibrant, and the essential services students rely on. In the basement, a warren of offices provide space for the largest RSOs to organize (College Republicans and Student Democrats share an office, the Muslim and Buddhist student associations share another), and on the first floor there’s a resource center with everything RSOs need to make the signs, banners and newsletters that are a constant addition to campus decor.
The building is open to the public, though the finishing touches are still being put on many of the amenities. The HUB will host an opening bash for students on Sept. 22, and an Open House on Sept. 25 with games, giveaways, and all kinds of hoopla. All members of the UW community—students, faculty, staff, neighbors and friends—are invited to that, so why not drop by?