The results of the Carolina Union’s Feasibility Study were released on the new Our Carolina Union website Monday, revealing students’ high interest in building a new Union and how much a new and improved Union that could accommodate campus needs might cost — approximately $221 million.
The study, which began in May 2016, looked for student input and involved a campus-wide survey, focus groups, benchmark research and tours of recently built student unions at nine other campuses.
Boateng Kubi, chairperson of the Carolina Union Board of Directors, said the student feedback about the project has exceeded his expectations.
“This was a project led by students, for students and, at every stage, I think student engagement has been mind-blowing,” he said.
The study revealed that about 83 percent of the students who took the survey saw building a new union as a high to moderate priority. The study showed that what students wanted most in a new union was more space.
The survey reported that most students said the Union was the number one place they went to interact informally with other students, but also said the number one reason they did not use the Union was because it was too crowded.
“When you juxtapose these two facts here, it being the number one place students want to go, but the number one reason they don’t go is that it's too crowded, that really pointed at the lack of space,” Kubi said.
Kubi said with the results of the study and what students said they want and need in a new Union, the estimated size of a new building would be about 292,000 square feet.
But before the project can move to the advanced planning stage, students must first decide if they want a new Union.