DI Renovations

Ethan Horn, an electrician for Pinnacle Electric, works on an outlet in the Diversity and Inclusion office. Renovations started April 6 to add in new paint, carpet and furniture into the space that houses students, faculty, student support services and organization meetings.

The Office of Student Involvement is undergoing renovations taking place during the summer to allow students a better and more inviting environment. 

Changes in the OSI will not be made until students leave for the summer break, but should be complete by the time students start arriving in the fall semester. 

Though the entire office is undergoing changes, the Diversity and inclusion office started their renovation April 6 to add new paint, carpet and furniture into the space that houses students, faculty, student support services and organization meetings. They hope to complete their side of the revitalization sometime the week of May 10. 

Justin Mallett, assistant vice president of Diversity and Inclusion, said the renovations specifically to the Diversity and Inclusion side of the office are to create a space where students feel welcomed to loosen up and be themselves.

“We are redoing the office space that is in there and creating a more social lounge space where students can come in and relax,” Mallett said. “The whole point is to try to make a stronger sense of belonging for our marginalized students.”

Mallett said the hope for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion renovation is to give these students a space of their own rather than a shared space by everyone.

“We have always been in a shared, integrated space, and while that’s great, one of the things we have learned over the course of the summer is that our marginalized students are looking for a place to call their own,” Mallett said. “This allows our students to have a place they can call their own.”

Jamie Hooyman, University provost, said that there won’t be a final cost until the renovations are done, but usually major replacements like these are around $100,000.

“We have capital money that is budgeted every year that goes to different projects, and we set prioritizations,” Hooyman said. “When you have buildings as old as our building, renovations are a part of it.”

She thinks that the renovations were needed to make the space more inviting to students.

“I would say the carpet alone was 15 to 20 years old,” Hooyman said. “No one would even live with that in their house, and that is a high-traffic area. Plus, that’s what students use; our students are in there all the time, and they need a nice space.”

With the renovations taking place, the community barber shop is currently closed. Mallett said that it would be opening again when renovations have been completed. Over the summer, the frequency of the barber shop will be decreased but will still be available for the community members and students who stay in Maryville during the summer.

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