Student center

Bone Student Center becomes ISU’s new “gateway”

On Friday, Illinois State University rededicated the Bone Student Center after a $33 million renovation that had been underway for more than a decade.

The project, which began in 2017, included the addition of new meeting and event spaces, new restaurants, new offices for student support services, and a renovated bookstore.

Illinois State University

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Erin Watts

Erin Watts, assistant director of events management, catering and hospitality at ISU, said the new east side entrance serves as a new gateway to campus.

“We want people when they arrive on campus to know this is Illinois State University and we think the updated exterior and interior entrances reflect that more now,” Watts said.

She said that before the renovation, the 48-year-old building no longer met the needs of today’s students – it had only undergone one minor renovation in the 1970s.

“It was a very dark design. It was actually called a brutalist design,” Watts explained.

The revamped student center now uses more natural light and open-concept seating areas.

The lobby improvement project, which came after the Bone Student Center’s east and west positions were redesigned, cost $11 million.

“We made a nice three-storey addition on the east side. We remodeled the west exterior, we updated the Brown Ballroom, but in the middle of the building it was still the old design so it didn’t have a lot of cohesion and we wanted it to look like to a seamless project,” Watts said.

She said the renovations were paid for with reserve funds, mostly from campus food services.

“No tuition was used for the project,” Watts said.