Monday, January 14, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 71


Satellite will not re-open until late May

By Melissa Kummer
Daily Cougar Staff

Students will have to go another four months without the convenience of food, games and entertainment previously provided by the University
Center Satellite.

Lorrie Novosad/The Daily Cougar

Renovations to the University Center Satellite will continue throughout the Spring 2002 semester. The popular student hangout should reopen
by the summer.

After Tropical Storm Allison nearly destroyed the facility last summer, UH officials, architects and construction teams have taken the need for
repairs as an opportunity to bring the building into the 21st century.

"It won't look like a building built in 1973 anymore," said Keith Kowalka, assistant director of the University Center and associated facilities.

When the process of reviewing the damage and repair needs began, it was estimated the building would reopen by October 2001. But,
Kowalka said, there are a variety of reasons the Satellite won't be ready until late May.

"I remember what we thought when the storm hit," Kowalka said. "It has taken longer than anyone has expected, but no one is to blame."

The University's partnership with Chartwells meant the two sides needed to compromise on planning and design.

"We have two sides to the Satellite: the food court and the non-food court," Kowalka said. "Because Chartwells has their own architects for the
food court and we have our own architects for the non-food court, it has taken a while."

A UC Policy Board meeting is scheduled for Friday. At the meeting, the University will seek approval for the building's design and décor.

Kowalka said both groups of architects strove to work toward a more "seamless" look for the facility. The $1.1 million renovation the food court
received in 1998 set it apart in design from the remainder of the '70s-style building.

While most of the restaurants offering campus culinary favorites will be in the new design, a few changes have been made to the lineup. Steak
Escape, which, Kowalka said, took too long per customer for a cafeteria-style setting, will be replaced by Chick-fil-A.

A second big-screen television room, a LinkTel phone and a Starbucks coffee shop are just a few of the additions Kowalka believes will make
the setup even better.

Most offices previously located in the Satellite will return, with the exception of Veterans' Services, which will soon be located in room 268 of the
UC. This will enable the Satellite to close at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.

John Lee, director of the University Center and associated facilities, said the University will try to put television lounges, game rooms and
meeting rooms back in place.

He listed a much larger convenience store and the addition of data hookups in the study lounge as examples of the improvements the future
facility will have over the previous one.

Information regarding the cost of the repairs and renovations will not be available until the plans have gained final approval.

The UC Underground, also damaged in the storm, is expected to be fully completed by Feb. 15. A reopening reception will be held, Kowalka

-- with additional reporting by Ken Fountain, senior staff writer

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