The University of Texas of the Permian Basin student union facility opened in late August, 2001. Over the years, modifications had been made to the student lounge on first floor, in attempts to create a student union. Even then, services and offices were located in different areas of the campus. Events held in the Student Lounge created space issues and the Student Lounge was never a high traffic area for current students.
This history along with the addition of the Admissions and Financial Aid offices in the student lounge, instigated an interest among the student body in creating their own Student Union. Thus, the research began, followed by a referendum and state legislation. The student referendum approved a fee of "up to $39 per student per semester" as a student union fee to be assessed once the facility is ready for use.
With much student input, many hours of committee meetings, tours of other university student unions, and the assistance of an architectural firm, a facility program plan was rendered. The plan placed existing services and offices in a central location while adding space for new services and facilities.
- Commons area
- Student organization suite
- Graphic Artist
- Meeting rooms
- Multipurpose room
- Falcon Perch Cafe
The committee further specified that the new facility would have plenty of access to exterior spaces. It would have casual, informal areas as well as formal meeting and office space. The multipurpose room would have the capability of providing one large room or being divided into smaller 'breakout' rooms.
Dr. Sorber, University President and Tammy Plowman, Student Senate President testified before the State of Texas House of Representatives Higher Education Committee indicating the need and student interest in the Student Union. The committee approved the fee for the proposed facility. The House of Representatives approved the legislation on March 22, 1999. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee on April 6, 1999 and is scheduled to clear the Senate on April 15th.
Teresa Sewell, former director of Student Life, Michael Osterbuhr, then director of Student Life, and several students who served on the student union development committee participated in a "ground breaking ceremony" of sorts on February 13, 2001. The UTPB Mesa Journal took scores of photographs to commemorate the occasion.
The UTPB Physical Plant personnel put up a false wall, provided safety glasses and a small sledge hammer, and helped us pull things together. The Mesa Journal staff not only took photos, they also had a go at swinging the sledge hammer a few times. Besides being a fun event, the wall-breaking ceremony and its coverage in the school newspaper gave everyone the feeling that work had indeed begun on the student union.