Student center

It’s Time to Eat: New Dining Options Are Open at the Bone Student Center | local education

NORMAL – The Bone Student Center at Illinois State University was a busy place during spring break.

Construction workers put the finishing touches on several new spaces while staff stocked shelves at the new Barnes & Noble bookstore and employees at Qdoba and Starbucks received training.

But last week’s hive of activity was nothing compared to what’s expected at 10 a.m. Monday when doors open on the first and second floors of the three-story addition to the 45-year-old building.

Starbucks will be open. It will be the same for the new Barnes & Noble, considerably enlarged. Qdoba will open at 11 a.m. McAlister’s Deli, the only remnant from before the project began, will also be open.

“I have a feeling there will be a long line,” said Bill Legett, director of event management.

Construction on the $33 million revitalization project began in September 2017. It’s called the new “front door” and “living room” of the university.

The Starbucks student center is twice the size of the Student Fitness Center, Legett said, “and this one is already one of the busiest in the Midwest on a college campus.”

The area will have a variety of seating options, with different flooring and ceiling treatments and plenty of outlets for charging electronic devices. A stage-like area with “soft” seating can be used for programs during less busy times, he said.

Stairs lead from Milner Plaza to a courtyard that was previously a headache to enter. “It’s a hidden gem, really,” Legett said.

Several other outdoor seating areas will join the courtyard as gathering places.

Many Reggie Redbird plush dolls are available at Illinois State University’s Barnes & Noble Bookstore at ISU’s Bone Student Center in Normal. The bookstore’s new location in the center is open Monday as students return from spring break.


The new areas, seating and dining options provide “opportunities for students to go and relax,” Legett said. “Students want a place where they are going to feel comfortable, where you can feel that there is life here.

Each floor has a gas fireplace with glass panels. The one on the third floor is positioned to be enjoyed from indoors or from the outdoor patio. There is also greater use of natural light to illuminate the center.

A reception desk will welcome people on the first floor. Eventually, the box office will move to this location.

“This is the first stop where our future Redbirds and their families will come,” Legett said. “This is where they will be welcomed.”

And instead of scouring campus for the admissions office in Hovey Hall, they’ll hop in a nearby elevator or take the stairs to the third floor.

Before they even get this far, they’ll pass welcome signs in the parking lot and see ISU photos and merchandise in bookstore windows.

“Going up, you will really feel like you are at Illinois State University. … He has that Redbird feel,” Legett said. “We really want to make this entrance the gateway to the university.”

Core Construction’s Tom Cole said the project is essentially ahead of schedule.

“There were early delays that we caught up with,” he said.

Legett said Core Construction has hit every target so far – from finishing the Brown Ballroom in time for Founders Day in February to completing the Starbucks-Qdoba areas in time for the return. spring break students.

The next big room is the “grand staircase,” which should open in time for the start, “if the weather cooperates,” Legett said.

New lights on Milner Plaza line up with the grand staircase on the north side of the building and the overpass that crosses College Avenue on the south to connect the plaza to the quad.

“Eventually they will go to Locust” Street, which is north of the Bone parking lot, he said. “It will give you the impression of a path through the campus.”

Standing by a third-story window that overlooks the College Avenue overpass and quad, Legett said, “It’s my favorite space.”


Starbucks employees received training last week at the new Bone Student Center site at Illinois State University in Normal. It will open on Monday when students return from spring break.


When planning for the project began, discussions centered on the quad’s importance to the campus, Legett said, and “How do we incorporate this into the Bone Student Center?”

The answer was almost floor-to-ceiling south-facing windows in a lecture hall where prospective students will have their orientation sessions.

Undertaking such a large project while keeping the student center running was “a monumental task,” Legett said.

Tony Herter, ISU project manager, said the project was challenging and stressful at times, but the nearly finished product is beautiful.

“I’m just amazed at how well we work together,” he said. “When we have a delay, we solve it.”

Photos: ISU Bone student center revitalization progresses

Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota