BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) – The final celebration for the new LSU Student Union happened this morning. There was no better way to celebrate than Mardi Gras style, complete with a second line parade through the new 50,000 square feet that were added as a part of the renovation.
The original building was constructed in 1960 when only 13,000 students attended the now flagship University. Since then, that number has doubled, so more space was needed.
The process to gain approval to build, however, was a complicated path. First, students had to vote on and approve the project. And although paid for by student fees, state legislature had to then approve and add it to the budget.
Students did agree to the plans back in 2003. A small fee was added to student fee bills over the course of a half dozen semesters. The purpose was to reduce the overall cost to those students who would graduate before its completion. After nearly six years, few of those students who paid the first round of fees remain on campus. But the legacy of the new building should remain for many years to come.
“There were just so many improvements made to the facility, it’s hard to start enumerating them,” Shirley Plakidas, Director of the LSU Student Union, said at today’s ceremony. “We’re very proud of the end result.”
Plakidas attended LSU back when the Union was a brand new building. She says the greatest accomplishment with the new structure are the safety features. When originally constructed, very few fire codes were in place, or enforced. The new student union is now equipped with all the bells and whistles, literally. From a brand new sprinkler system to better fire alarms, the safety features alone are reason for celebration.