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
Lorrie Novosad/The Daily
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
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
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