Students react to Union’s delayed opening

Posted on Aug 21 2017 - 8:04am by Rachel Ishee

The Student Union won’t be opening its doors to students today like originally planned, according to a university press release. Parts of the new building were supposed to be open, offering more dining options on campus. Last-minute delays led to the Union project missing its Aug. 21 opening date.

News of the delay has slowly started to make its way around campus as students return to Oxford for the fall semester.

“The Union not opening on time is super frustrating, but honestly I kind of expected it to be delayed,” junior accounting major Skyler Knapp said.  “I switched my meal plan from a 5-day plus one plan to the 7-day plus one plan because we were all being told that it would open on time.”

Incoming freshman and transfer students seem to be more optimistic about the delay since they have yet to experience the Student Union.

“Since I’m a freshman, I don’t really know any different, so the Union being closed isn’t affecting me as much as people who are use to having it,” incoming freshman Delaney Cavanaugh said. “However, it does take away a lot of different food options and does not replace them with anything, so hopefully it will be open soon.”

The Student Union is being renovated in two different phases that will expand the building by almost 80,000 square feet to 173,000 total square feet. Chick-fil-A, Panda Express and Qdoba are set to return, and Which Wich and McAlister’s Deli will be new additions.

During construction, Ole Miss Dining will extend its hours of operation in all locations to make up for the lack of dining options.

According to the news release, students, faculty and staff will not lose the value of their meal plans and Rebel Unlimited Plus 1, faculty and staff meal plans, Spring Greek Plus 1, Upperclassmen Plus 1 and Upperclassmen Weekday Plus 1 will not be affected. Rebel Market, the Marketplace at the Residential College, the Grill at 1810, Freshii, Chick-fil-A, all of the P.O.D.s, P.O.D. Mobile, Papa John’s, Raising Cane’s, Einstein Bros Bagels, Steak ‘n Shake and Starbucks will be open for food options.

As of now, no reopening date has been released, but Thursday’s news release said Phase 1 of renovations will be opening soon.

“I am disappointed about the delay in opening the Student Union,” said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs, in the news release. “It was a hard decision, but the correct one. We want to provide students the best experience at Ole Miss, and prematurely opening the building would have disappointed them much more than waiting on a completely finished product.”

See today’s Daily Mississippian Back-To-School section for full details of the Student Union expansion and what was found in a time capsule on the construction site.