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Murray State board allocates more funding for student union project, new regents sworn in

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Liam Niemeyer
/
WKMS News
A concept drawing of the esports space planned inside the Curris Center.

The Murray State University Board of Regents approved more funding for the over $5 million project to update the university’s student union interior.

At the special board meeting on Thursday, Murray State Director of Facilities Management Jason Youngblood showed the board conceptual drawings of what the new Curris Center interior could look like once the renovations are completed. The drawings included new flooring, new wall coverings, new spaces for existing offices such as for student government and a new space for the university’s esports organization. Youngblood said the main differences to the student union will be visual.

“The refresh itself is mostly, like we talked about, just finishes, upgraded lighting,” Youngblood said. “Trying to bring in that Murray State blue and gold, Murray State logos to different places, the signage, things like that.”

The Curris Center offices for the Center for Student Involvement — which houses the Student Government Association, or SGA — will be moved from the first floor to the second floor under the plans.

“We want to make SGA a more prominent office. They're there to represent the students,” said Murray State Vice President Jackie Dudley. “This addresses that and also meets another need of getting esports into the building.”

The board approved increasing the funding for the Curris Center renovation project — slated at $4.46 million when the board originally approved the project last year — to $5.5 million.

Youngblood said the extra funding is needed with increased supply chain costs for items such as new furniture and for negotiations with potential construction companies that may drive up the project’s overall cost.

“A lot of contractors aren't that hungry for work. They've got enough work to keep them busy,” Youngblood said. “It's unfortunate for us because that helps drive up the costs. It's good for them that they don't have to go out and try to find a lot of work, but that's just kind of the environment we're in today.”

Youngblood said the university received a bid from a construction company for the Curris Center project and is still negotiating various costs of the project. He hopes the project is started by this fall and is completed no later than the winter break of 2023. Youngblood said one of the biggest challenges will be renovating the student union while people are occupying it.

“We can't just go in and turn them loose for the entire building,” Youngblood said. “We'll have to do it in phases. They'll have to renovate a small area and move people into it.”

The Board of Regents also swore in two new regents that were appointed by Gov. Andy Beshear: Paducah Attorney Emily Roark and Livingston County Schools Superintendent David Meinschein.

"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."
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