The Original Student Union

Discussions to build a union building at the University of Washington began in 1919, with plans being developed throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s. However, it was not until just before the start of the Second World War that the project made it off the drawing board. With the University of Washington Regents providing half of the financing plus the land the project started construction in 1948. On October 25, 1949 the students, faculty and staff of the University opened the building to an enthusiastic reception.

The original building was a little over 71,000 square feet. It was built on the site of the Alaskan-Pacific-Yukon Exhibition’s Forestry Building which is pictured in the upper right hand corner of the Ernest Norling mural in the second floor lounge. This mural depicts events in the history of the University from 1861 to 1925. The term “HUB” was coined in the early 1950’s by the student newspaper, The Washington Daily, the predecessor of The Daily. The building was viewed as the “hub of campus life” and this name was soon adopted by almost everyone. Later, the acronym became today’s Husky Union Building.

The 1952 addition more than doubled the size of the building. The most important areas were a ballroom and the games room. This addition also added another deck to the building, expanded food service and a barbershop. In 1959 and 1962 small additions where made to the HUB, adding two meeting rooms, expanding seating in the dining area, and the Auditorium. The last major expansion of the HUB, 1975-77, saw the addition of a second ballroom, more dining seating, as well as meeting rooms and more lounge space. This brought the building to its present 262,000 square feet. Just prior to this expansion the student organization space in the sub-basement was opened.

The HUB Remodel 2010-2012

The summer of 2010 was the beginning of a comprehensive remodel and renovation of the HUB. Driven by student initiatives this project is meant to meet the four goals established by the HUB Renovation Committee, composed of sixteen students, two faculty and two staff. Those goals are:

  • Welcoming Space
  • Open the Building
  • Connect to the Campus
  • Build Community

Now that the HUB has reopened the building has a totally redesigned and rebuilt first, second and third floors. The remaining three floors have been remodeled and updated as well. The HUB is now prepared to meet the needs of future Huskies on this campus.