UC demolition begins

Approximately+30+students+and+faculty+watch+NMU+President+Fritz+Erickson+man+the+excavator+at+the+Kaye+Av-%0Aenue+enterance+of+the+University+Center.+Demolition+of+the+Explorer+wing+began+June+5.%0APhoto+by%3A+Kat+Torreano

Approximately 30 students and faculty watch NMU President Fritz Erickson man the excavator at the Kaye Av- enue enterance of the University Center. Demolition of the Explorer wing began June 5. Photo by: Kat Torreano

Kelsii Kyto

NMU is a “university on the
move” as extensive renovations
are taking place around campus to
make it a more engaging and integrated asset to the community, said
NMU President Fritz Erickson at
the University Center (UC) Demolition Kickoff on June 5.

Members of the NMU community gathered around the construction site at the UC’s Kaye Avenue
entrance as President Erickson got
behind the wheel of the demolition
machine and made the first crack at
demolishing the Explorer wing. The
crowd cheered as the first pieces fell
to the ground.

“Some days I get to do fun things
at my job,” he said. He added how
the machinery was difficult to operate but the act of making moves on
this project was enjoyable.

The $19.5 million UC renovations will be completed in two phases in an effort to keep the building
open and operational throughout
the construction process, Erickson
said. He added the first phase will
be completed by April 15, 2019 and
the project will be completed by the
fall of 2019.

“The [UC] is the anchor of the
university,” Erickson said.

The building hasn’t been renovated since 1972 and this new construction will add a ballroom able to
accommodate 1300 people, Erickson said. The ballroom will be utilized by a variety of organizations
and events and will be an asset to
the university, he added.

According to NMU’s website, the
renovations will also include a student activity zone to give a space to
relax and socialize or study outside
of class. There will also be updates
to the exterior of the building.

“We are very engaged and very
much a part of the community, and
this is a contribution that is a reflection of all the different things in the
university,” Erickson said.